ASHM Report Back

Clinical posts from members and guests of the Australasian Society for HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Sexual Health Medicine (ASHM) from various international medical and scientific conferences on HIV, AIDS, viral hepatitis, and sexual health.

The implication of HIV Self Testing (HIVST) for Sex Workers in Australia

Posted by on in HIV Testing, point of care testing and home based testing
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 1681
  • Print


This talk was presented by Udesha Chandrasena, Policy Officer, Scarlet Alliance, Australian Sex Workers Association, Australia

Udesha spoke about the results from a study conducted by the Scarlet Alliance, involving an online survey that was distributed to sex workers including members of the Scarlet Alliance. The survey looked at potential implications of HIVST 

Sex workers in Australia have low rates of HIV infection despite laws that stigmatise and discriminate against them. This is largely due to the success of peer eduction, outreach services, and safer sex information practices.

Benefits of HIVST may include providing testing options that are private and confidential and that take place outside of a clinical setting 

The risks of such testing , however, may include a higher rate of false reactive results due to sex workers being a low prevalence population 

In addition, there is no opportunity for pre and post test counselling 

In the event of a reactive result this may be considered evidence of HIV infection as per the National Policy on HIV testing, which could have consequences for the sex workers due to current laws and policies that are in place 

It is important to ensure that if HIVST was carried out, sex workers are supported and that information is available regarding what to do in the case of forced or coerced testing. Privacy rights also need to be protected

In addition, clear information regarding the risks of false reactive test results and the need for confirmatory testing needs to be in place

The sex workers who completed the survey generally welcomed HIVST, however they were concerned about the legal implications and other possible drawbacks as mentioned above

  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Sunday, 22 May 2022
Twitter response: "Could not authenticate you."