Rapid HIV Testing Approved

Andrew BurryThe Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has approved the use of rapid HIV testing in Australia. Rapid testing allows a patient to discover their HIV status in 30 minutes, currently patients normally have to wait one week to find out their results.

Enabling rapid testing is one of the key focuses of the Melbourne Declaration, a new strategy to combat HIV rates in Australia that was launched last year. It is believed that many people do not get tested or return for their results due to the weeklong processing time.

Trials of the rapid testing technique were conducted in NSW last year. The TGA approval however is only one step in the process to making the testing available to the wider public. Speaking to RTRFM’s All Things Queer program Andrew Burry, Executive Officer of the WA AIDS Council explained that the test still needs to go through the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme and the Medicare system in order for it to be fully approved for use. Burry estimated that it could still be 18 months until the test is available to consumers.

Burry highlighted that the acceptance of rapid testing, which has been available overseas for more than a decade, was an important step in combating Australia’s growing number of HIV cases.

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