HIV testing is an essential as an access point to HIV care and to reduce the transmission of HIV. Testing in Australasia should be of the highest quality for the purpose for which it will be used. Access to testing should be as flexible as possible with due consideration given to the individual needs of the person being tested.
ASHM recognizes that public health considerations and clinical diagnostics will often have different standards. ASHM can accept this difference provided every effort is made to convey these differences in performance, to the end user.
All screening tests must be confirmed by a laboratory test in order to provide a clinical diagnosis, but this requirement should continue to be review as new technology emerges.
ASHM believes that new technologies should be explored, evaluated and made available which increase the reach of testing and/or increase the likelihood of diagnosis. ASHM supports:
- Point of Care Tests where they are performed by an appropriately trained individual;
- Self-tests where the person being tested collects the sample and interprets the result, providing that instructions, limitations and referral information are clear and appropriate,
- Self-sample collection by dry blood spot where the sample is analysed in a laboratory, interpreted in a laboratory and the result is provided to the patient by a clinician in the case of a positive or indeterminate result and an appropriately trained individual or approved electronic format if the result is negative.
ASHM recognizes that technology is changing rapidly as are the ways people communicate. It is the quality of the information and the way it is communicated which is vital in conveying test results. ASHM supports using sms, phone and/or email communication when conveying results, when the health care provider providing the result has made a clinical judgment that the method of conveying the result is appropriate for the individual.
ASHM strongly supports the ongoing need for an HIV Testing Policy. This allows for the exploration of new technologies and emerging changes in opinion and strives for an acceptable consensus on these matters.
National HIV Testing Policy
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ASHM Position Statement - HIV Testing