Home-based tests designed to rapidly detect the presence of HIV could prove vital in the early diagnosis of the virus among the most vulnerable cohort, new research has revealed.
Alfred Health sexual health physician Associate Professor Jason Ong said early detection is often challenging for overseas-born men who have sex with men, however the self-tests, which are now readily available at pharmacies could soon change that.
Professor Ong said recent research conducted by Alfred Health and Monash University overwhelmingly revealed people were able to use the self-test kits successfully.
“There are two types of tests – one which is blood based and another which is oral. Both showed similar accuracy; however, the consumers overwhelmingly preferred the oral test, which is currently not available in Australia.
“Making this available alongside the blood-based test is likely to further increase uptake and enhance our efforts in early diagnosis.”
World Health Organisation co-ordinator of testing, prevention and populations for global HIV, Hepatitis and STI programmes, Dr. Rachel Baggaley, welcomed the results of the research as a further step in eliminating HIV.
“These are an empowering testing choice. Often people may want and benefit from regular HIV testing. By facilitating easier access we’re able to offer help earlier and stem possible transmission."