The first rapid test for diagnosis of HIV infection at the point of care was registered for use in the Australian setting in December 2012. A range of conditions were applied by the Government including testing sites outside conventional laboratory having a formal relationship with an accredited pathology provider, quality assurance schemes and operator training to ensure the quality performance of testing
NSW State Reference Laboratory at SydPath provide ‘umbrella’ support to high HIV case load primary care clinic sites to implement HIV rapid tests into clinical practice.
Key elements of this support include provision of a standardised training program, provision of quality procedures, test reagent management, quality control, calibration and maintenance of equipment and the testing environment, technical troubleshooting and processes for efficient confirmation of reactive rapid test results.
This new program highlights the important role that laboratories can play in supporting primary care sites to strengthen the quality performance of tests outside the conventional pathology laboratory environment
Testing is done using a finger-prick blood test, with the results provided within 20 minutes while you wait for to see a doctor. Those who attend the clinic will be given information and support before and after the test, and anyone whose test is reactive will require further conventional laboratory testing (under Medicare).
Rapid HIV testing in the GP clinic will provide an alternative testing environment for people who may be put off by hospitals and traditional sexual health clinics and those who do not wish to participate in research studies.
‘With advances in HIV treatment, there are now far more reasons for patients to know their HIV status than there are not to. We’re delighted to be launching this rapid HIV testing implementation program, and hope we can encourage more people to come forward for testing and reduce undiagnosed HIV.
If you haven’t had a test in a while, or you’re worried you may have put yourself at risk, please come along to one of the participating clinic sites and receive free and confidential HIV rapid testing without having to participate in a study.
Get tested now …..and take control.