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HIV self-testing kits are now available in Australia

New self-testing kits that allow people to screen for HIV are now available to purchase in Australia.

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The Atomo HIV Self-Test was approved for sale in Australia in November last year, and is the only model that been allowed on the market.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) note that it is important to only buy devices approved for sale so that users can be sure the device is safe and accurate.

“The HIV self-test has been shown in laboratory testing to correctly identify 99.6% of HIV negative and HIV postive samples,” the AFAO fact sheet reads.

“Like other HIV tests, the self-test may not detect HIV that is recently acquired. For the HIV self-test, the window period is three months. This means that the test may not detect HIV that has been acquired in the last three months.”

The AFAO urge people who think they may have been exposed to HIV in the last three months to speak with a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.

“If the potential exposure occurred within the last 72 hours, you may be eligible for post exposure prophylaxis (PEP), which can prevent HIV acquisition occurring.”

HIV support organisation ACON have welcomed the news, reflecting on the importance of more testing options for Australians.

“HIV testing is key to ending HIV… because if people don’t know their HIV status, they can’t improve their health or take action to prevent potential transmission,” ACON CEO Nicholas Parkhill said.

“Self-testing will help overcome key barriers some people experience when testing, such as fear of a positive result in the presence of a healthcare provider, avoiding screening due to privacy concerns or lack of access to sexual health services.”

“Providing more options for people to take control of their health is critical to ensuring more people regularly test for HIV. Giving people the autonomy to test themselves in settings they feel comfortable in is an important step forward for the community and the broader goal of eliminating HIV transmission.”

For more information on self-testing, head to AFAO.org.au


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