Home-based tests boost fight against HIV

July 18 2022

An article from Alfred Health titled Home-based tests boost fight against HIV discussing the role of rapid testing in early diagnosis


Read the article here

gloved hand holding test cassette lancing index finger of another hand

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.

“Overseas-born men who have sex with men are more likely to want to use these self-test kits, which is fantastic because our HIV epidemic in Australia has changed with more diagnoses among overseas-born MSM, who are often diagnosed too late,”

he said.

“Making access to HIV testing easier for them could mean earlier diagnosis of the virus, which has many benefits for themselves and the community.”

Professor Ong said recent research conducted by Alfred Health and Monash University overwhelmingly revealed people were able to use the self-test kits successfully.

“Previously there was a restriction that people using these kits needed to watch a video first, but we’ve been able to show that’s not necessary and the removal of that requirement has made the tests available over the counter.

“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.

“It’s so encouraging to see these results confirming that in Australia, as everywhere where self-tests are available, people are able to use them successfully.

“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."

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