The renewal of Victorian Government funding for the PRONTO! rapid HIV testing service has been warmly welcomed by the Head of Burnet’s HIV/STI Research Group, Associate Professor Mark Stoové.
A collaboration between Burnet and the Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men’s Health Centre (VAC/GMHC), PRONTO! has been operating from a Fitzroy shopfront since August, 2013.
With the end of an initial two-year trial looming, Associate Professor Stoové described the government’s commitment to a further four years of funding as timely and positive news.
He said PRONTO! - which offers peer-managed HIV test results from a simple pin prick - has become an important part of the testing landscape in Victoria.
The entire process takes just 30 minutes including a 10-minute turnaround for the test results.
“The funding will allow us to think about ways in which the rapid testing model can be refined to deliver the best outcomes possible,” Associate Professor Stoové said.
“We need to increase the frequency of HIV testing and continue to reduce barriers to high-frequency testing, particularly among high-risk men.”
Associate Professor Stoové said PRONTO! has developed a distinctive brand relating to point-of-care testing that can be leveraged and expanded upon in new and innovative ways.
“There are ways we can use PRONTO! to promote all types of testing, whether it’s a trial or a bona fide new testing model,” he said.
“That includes the places in which people can access rapid testing, including potentially self-testing at home.
“To have four years of funding secured is great a platform to explore these new ways to increase testing.”