Healthy Communities welcomes media reports that rapid HIV tests will be available from sexual health clinics from June this year.
Healthy Communities already provides rapid HIV tests for the LGBT community from our weekly ‘Testing Point’ clinic on Tuesday evenings 6-8pm, staffed by volunteer nurses, doctors and peer educators.
“Rapid HIV testing has been available in many other countries for well over 5 years” said Paul Martin, Executive Director. “The introduction of rapid testing to Queensland is long overdue and welcome.”
Despite some media reports, rapid HIV testing is not “do-it-yourself”. The test, which takes around 20 minutes, is administered by specially trained doctors and nurses, who take a finger-prick of blood, read the test result and inform the patient of the result. If a person tests positive, meaning they have HIV, a traditional confirmatory blood test will be needed, with results available within a week.
“While the introduction of rapid HIV tests in welcomed, it seems at odds with the reduction of services and staffing positions occurring in many sexual health clinics across Queensland, most notably at Biala in Brisbane” said Paul Martin.
“Rapid HIV testing should also be available in more community settings, and the ‘Testing Point’ clinic at Healthy Communities should be supported, as it has been shown to be effective in encouraging men to test.”