Get tested this HIV testing week: early treatment essential to living a longer life

NSW Health is urging anyone who thinks they may be at risk of HIV to test regularly, as early treatment is essential to living a longer and healthier life.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerry Chant said that while NSW has recorded its lowest number of HIV cases ever, testing rates have also declined and urged anyone at risk to get tested, particularly if it has been more than a year.

“I strongly encourage people who are at risk to please get tested or do a test at home this HIV testing week, 1 to 7 June. Early testing, diagnosis and treatment prevents transmission,” Dr Chant said.

“Regular testing also means that if you are HIV positive, we can quickly provide you with care and treatment so you can enjoy a long and healthy life.

“In the first quarter of this year, 30 NSW residents were diagnosed with HIV, which is a 54 per cent drop compared with the first-quarter average for the past five years. However, while this drop is welcome, we note that testing rates have also declined.”

HIV testing was 10 per cent lower in the first quarter of 2022 compared with the first quarter of 2021, and 11 per cent lower than the first quarter of 2020.

Getting tested is easy and confidential,” Dr Chant said.

“People can get tested at their local GP, sexual health service, or at home with a Dried Blood Spot test or HIV self-test.

“Online services provide peer support to help you choose a rapid HIV test to do at home.

“As well as having a test at least once a year, it is important that people at risk use condoms and discuss with their GP the use of PrEP for HIV prevention.”

To find out where you can get tested today, visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/endinghiv/Pages/HIV-testing.aspx

The International Students Hub provides information on sexual and reproductive health with links to services to assist students navigate the health system in NSW.

For the latest HIV Surveillance Report, visit: https://www.health.nsw.gov.au/endinghiv/Pages/tools-and-data.aspx

The 2021-2025 NSW HIV Strategy is a plan for the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in NSW for all. The goals of the strategy are to prevent transmission, normalise testing, start treatment soon after diagnosis, maintain it for a healthy life, and reduce stigma.