New approaches to HIV testing

Delayed HIV testing among men who have sex with men in Australia has improved but remains an issue – Huachun Zou



·      Delayed testing (testing less than annually) in MSM has improved but there is still some way to go

·      In Australia it is predicted that there are approximately 12-33% of people living with HIV who are undiagnosed

·      2/3 MSM consistently report testing but less than 40% return to be retested within 1yr

·      If all MSM were tested as recommended (every 3-6 months), modelling predicts there would be a 14% decrease in new HIV diagnosis

·      However, surveys have shown that only 1/3 are ‘very likely’ to increase testing levels. Many MSM don’t test annually and those at higher risk (5 partners in 3/12, >20 partners in 12/12, having had an STI in 2y) tend to be the most unwilling to increase testing.

·      ACCESS data from 2007-2014 from 24 sexual health clinics showed those more likely to test >p.a were under 25. Only 36% of high risk MSM tested annually and only 2% ATSI.

·      Amongst those at high risk delayed testing has improved from 75% to 69%, with delay in testing being more likely if ATSI, this was statistically significant.

·      In conclusion delayed testing is still common in high risk MSM especially if older or ATSI

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·      Strategies to improve testing further could include ?home based/ self test HIV testing, 3/12,  sms reminders (shown to work), computer alerts in GP practices and guidelines on testing (also shown to work).