Take a test this HIV Testing Week

The dried blood spot test can be taken from your finger.  Photo image courtesy Getty Images.

Western Local Health District (WSLHD) is encouraging people who have never been tested for HIV or haven’t had a test for more than a year, to get tested as part of HIV Testing Week from the 1-7th June.

“HIV Testing Week is a good reminder for everyone who is sexually active to get regularly tested,” WSLHD sexual health director Professor David Lewis said.

“Tests are available at your local GP or sexual health service, where you have the additional advantage of being able to be tested for other sexually transmissible infections at the same time.”

There’s also a new Dried Blood Spot testing kit which is private and discreet and there’s no need to visit a doctor. The test is delivered in the mail and results are then sent by text, email or over the phone.

People at risk of HIV infection, particularly men who have sex with men, should also take proper precautions to protect themselves. This includes taking Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) and using condoms.

In the first three months of 2019, 52 men who had sex with men were diagnosed with HIV in NSW. 52 per cent had not had a test in the past 12 months and 17 per cent had never had an HIV test.

“Getting diagnosed late can be life-threatening and increase the chances of HIV being passed on to sexual partners. Being diagnosed early means you can receive treatment and live a long and healthy life and testing is discreet, confidential and often free,” Professor Lewis said.

The NSW Government has committed $21.9 million in 2018-19 to strengthen testing, treatment and prevention with 47 state-funded Sexual Health Clinics also making testing easily accessible.

To find out where to get tested call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624. HIV Testing Week runs from 1 – 7 June.

For more information about testing and prevention including PrEP go to: www.health.nsw.gov.au/HIV-test