Australia has led the way in many HIV activities so why are we so behind when it comes to self-testing? Marginalised groups have been a focus of this conference, and rightly so. We know that self testing will be a part of the response to closing this gap in hard to reach groups but so far, no home test has been approved in Australia and access is currently limited to research.
Sarah Bell from the University of Queensland presented data on a peer led pilot to increase access to high risk men in rural and remote communities. They had a high uptake by infrequent/never testers with self-perceived risk and convenience being the main reason for participation. 93% didn’t want the optional pre-test counselling and most participants stated they were willing to pay for a test given the option to.
ASHM President Dr Mark Block reminded us that HIV testing doubles when self tests are available and reported that the ATOMO test, currently under TGA review, is an accurate test with high usability.
Dr Anna McNulty presented findings from the NSW Health dried blood spot self-sampling initiative targeting hard to reach groups. Resources have been translated in 10 languages and the project has been promoted by multicultural health. Privacy was the most commonly stated reason for participating.