Australia’s first HIV self-testing device to receive TGA approval goes on sale today.
The Atomo Self Test is a finger-prick blood test that allows people to test themselves for HIV at home, providing them with a result in as little as fifteen minutes after performing the test.
The testing kits go on sale today through Sydney-based company Atomo Diagnostics’ website, and will also able to be distributed or sold by organisations such as AIDS Councils around the country.
The device received approval from the Therapeutic Goods Administration last November after years of lobbying by HIV prevention advocates, and laboratory testing has found the test could correctly identify 99.6% of HIV negative and HIV positive samples.
But the self-test may not detect HIV that has been recently acquired, and anyone who thinks they have been exposed to HIV in the last three months is urged to speak to a doctor or visit a sexual health clinic.
More information about the Atomo self-test is available from the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations’ fact sheet here.
“If you have received a positive result on the self-test, it will still need to be confirmed with further testing by a doctor,” the fact sheet reads.
“If you receive a positive result with the follow-up testing, it is important that you speak to a doctor about starting treatment.
“HIV is a manageable condition, treatment today is very effective and those living with HIV are able to live long and healthy lives.”
People on treatment for HIV reduce their viral load to undetectable levels, meaning they are incapable of transmitting HIV to others.
But an estimated 10 per cent of Australians with HIV are unaware of their positive status.
The AFAO welcomed the availability of the self-testing devices on Thursday as an important step in HIV prevention efforts.
“We know a lot of people delay testing for HIV due to fear and embarrassment,” AFAO CEO Darryl O’Donnell said.
“Self-testing helps overcome these barriers and has been shown to increase testing frequency among gay and bisexual men.
“Self-testing is very important for those who need to test regularly, and for those who would otherwise not test at all.”
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