30 July 2012
ASHM has welcomed the 2011 UN Political Declaration on HIV, which Australia has endorsed and which calls for significant increases in HIV testing. The Society is intimately involved in a number of activities to facilitate HIV testing in Australia. These include working with policy partners to fast-track and reduce the red tape associated with the evaluation of HIV point of care tests (PoCT). We have written to companies which produce and/or import PoCT encouraging them to submit their devices for evaluation. We are also calling for consideration of a rebate for the tests so that their cost does not become a burden.
In addition ASHM has led the push to simplify the process for patients having an HIV test and for their receiving the test result. In the past HIV testing has been very restrictive. This was essential at the time, but the time has changed particularly for gay men who are aware of HIV and who are being encouraged to test regularly may not require detailed counselling at each test. Likewise, as a result of listening to clinicians performing tests, ASHM recommended that the Australian HIV Testing Policy be amended to allow negative results to be given over the telephone. The policy also allows for giving positive results over the telephone in certain circumstances.
Read the full position statement.