HIV self-tests coming to pharmacy shelves

HIV self-tests will arrive in Sydney and WA pharmacies before being made available elsewhere.
HIV self-tests will arrive in Sydney and WA pharmacies before being made available elsewhere.

Australians will be able to test themselves for HIV with kits available at pharmacies from mid-December.

The devices will cost $25, and will first be stocked by Serafim's in Sydney's Taylor Square and the 777 pharmacy network in Western Australia, with other chemists to have them in the new year.

The time frame for availability comes after years of waiting, with Australia's first HIV self-test approved in November 2018.

"As we mark the start of HIV Awareness Week, this is a very welcome piece of news," Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations CEO Darryl O'Donnell said.

"Testing is absolutely critical to preventing HIV transmission. Once people know their status they can start treatment which allows them to completely suppress the virus, preventing further transmission."

He said there was compelling research to show HIV self-tests will increase testing among people who wouldn't otherwise see a doctor.

It could also help those who need to test regularly.

AFAO says in 2019, there were 29,045 people estimated to be living in Australia with HIV, and 3020 were unaware they were HIV-positive in the same year.

World AIDS Day is December 1.

Australian Associated Press