Dr Mark Stoove with Associate Professor Margaret Hellard and Associate Professor Gilda Tachedjian at a JoyFM broadcast where he spoke about point-of-care testing.
Rapid HIV testing in Australia is not far away according to research conducted by Burnet Institute’s Dr Mark Stoové and Alisa Pedrana.
Their research, Community Models of HIV Testing for Men who have Sex With Men was commissioned by AIDS Council of NSW (ACON) and now forms part of the review of HIV policy being conducted by the Australasian Society for HIV Medicine.
Rapid HIV testing kits involve a blood sample from a finger prick being that is read on a test paper for the presence of antibodies or the HIV antigen itself.
“All the testing kits operate in a similar way, some will just test for anti-bodies and some will test for anti-bodies and the antigen and will look for the virus itself’” Dr Stoové told MCV.
“As a screening test – whether they are antigen or antibody related – they serve their purpose well in terms of detecting whether the body is responding to HIV infection.”
The Thearapeutic Goods Administration, which licenses diagnostic instruments in Australia, is evaluating a rapid HIV testing kit at the moment.
Dr Stoové told MCV magazine that jurisdictions need to start thinking about what type of rapid testing model they want and the lead-in time and costs associated with those models.
The review of community models of HIV testing also found non-clinically trained people could get a high degree of accuracy in reading these tests after a day of training.
Dr Stoové said most of the international services reviewed were reliant on non-medically trained staff to conduct testing.
He added while implications of a positive HIV test have changed over time, the impact on someone’s life shouldn’t be underestimated and therefore support mechanisms need to be in place.