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HIV testing has never been easier

26 Nov 2020

 

The last week of November is HIV Awareness Week, leading to World AIDS Day on 1 December.

Our Sexual Health Team wants to remind our communities that HIV testing is still important, even in the current context of COVID-19.

“When it is diagnosed early, effective treatments mean that it is possible to live a long and healthy life with HIV,” says Jo Gough, Sexual Health Nurse Unit Manager.

For HIV Awareness Week, we encourage community members to speak to their general practitioner, and we encourage health professionals to make offering HIV testing a standard part of routine practice.

“We want to see STI screening a lot more normalised as a general health check-up, not something that’s at the backroom and down the back stairs type of situation,” says Jo.

“People at risk who have never been tested for HIV or haven't had a test for more than a year, could take the opportunity this week to get one done.”

You can also test yourself at home with the Dried Blood Spot testing kit which is delivered to you and results are sent back by text, email or phone.

The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the greater the chance of living a very normal healthy life,” says Jo.

Nepean Blue Mountains LHD has Sexual Health Clinics at Nepean Hospital and Blue Mountains Hospital.

The Clinics provide free and confidential testing, treatment and management of sexually transmissible infections (STI) and HIV/AIDs.

“We provide a professional, caring and non-judgemental service which enables people to look after their own sexual health,” says Jo.

The multidisciplinary sexual health teams consists of Specialist Sexual Health Doctors, specialist nurses, social workers and administrative staff at both Clinics.

Most recently the team was highly commended in the 2020 NSW Health Excellence in Nursing and Midwifery Awards, in the Team of the Year Award category.

“The team’s nurses achieve outstanding levels of compassionate care for not only our patients, but are also powerful advocates for improving the sexual health of our District,” says Jo.

For information on HIV testing, visit www.health.nsw.gov.au/hiv-test or call NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624 (Free-call).