A new national strategy aiming to significantly reduce new HIV infections allows Australians to test themselves in their own homes.
With HIV infections on the rise Health Minister Peter Dutton has removed the restriction that prevents the manufacture and sale of HIV home self-tests.
“Companies can now apply to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for approval to supply their test kits and if they meet Australia’s rigorous standards and are approved will be able to be sold direct to consumers,” Mr Dutton said in a press release.
Many Australians are living with undiagnosed HIV.
“Home self-testing provides an additional testing option that complements current options and allows people living with HIV to learn their HIV status and seek appropriate treatment and support,” Mr Dutton said.
“The early diagnosis of HIV is critical to supporting Australians living with the condition to get the treatment they need sooner and to stop its spread.”
Lucy Quilter, a pharmacist in Surry Hills, told The Newsroom she believed this initiative could help to reduce the risk of HIV.
“If people can find out earlier and get treated, then they’re less likely to transmit it,” Ms Quilter said.
There has been a 10 per cent rise in HIV infections in Australia since 2012.
“Because HIV has become such a known disease, people are more complacent about getting tested” Ms Quilter said.
“It could be because it has been harder to actually get tested because it has been quite a complicated testing procedure before this new home test came around.”
The government strategy aims to reduce sexual transmission of HIV by 50 per cent by 2015 and “work towards achieving the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in Australia by 2020”. – Payal Rishisen
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