Dr Eva Jackson
Testing times a good sign
04 Jun 2019
HIV testing is helping to eliminate the transmission of the virus in NSW with people who haven’t had a test encouraged to have one.
HIV Testing Week (1 to 7 June) is a timely reminder of how easy and essential it is find out your HIV status, says sexual health expert Dr Eva Jackson.
“The important thing is to get tested. Getting diagnosed late can be life-threatening and increases the chances of HIV being passed on to sexual partners,” says Dr Jackson, Clinical Director of the Nepean Blue Mountains Local Health District Sexual Health & HIV Clinics.
“Talking to your GP or visiting your local sexual health service is a good first step.
“But if you don’t want to visit a doctor, there’s a new Dried Blood Spot testing kit which comes confidentially in the mail and the results are available via text, email or over the phone,” she says.
There were 22 per cent fewer HIV notifications in NSW in the first three months of 2019, compared to the average for the same period over the previous five years.
The NSW Health HIV Strategy Data Report shows last year, the State had the lowest annual number of notifications on record. At the same time, HIV testing in NSW has continued to increase.
Men who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year, more frequently if they have multiple partners. In the first three months of this year, 52 men who had sex with men were diagnosed with HIV in NSW.
More than half of these men had not had a test in the past 12 months and 17 per cent had never had an HIV test.
Dr Jackson says people at risk of HIV infection can take precautions to reduce their risk including using condoms and taking Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP).
“Don’t delay getting your HIV test,” says Dr Jackson. “It could save your life and your partner’s life.”
The NSW Government has committed $21.9 million in 2018-19 to strengthen testing, treatment and prevention with 47 state-funded Sexual Health Clinics also making testing easily accessible.
To find out where to get tested call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.
More information about testing and prevention including PrEP.