Now Approved in Australia - Rapid Test for HIV

Media Release from Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Men's Health Centre and Living Positive Victoria

The Therapeutic Goods Administration has approved the Determine Combination Antigen/Antibody test for listing from Monday 17 December 2012 on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods. This approval is the result of years of work by industry bodies, the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations, AIDS Councils and community advocates from every state and territory in Australia.

Victorian AIDS Council / Gay Men’s Health Centre President Michael Williams welcomed the announcement, saying, “Approving rapid HIV testing is exciting. Such testing is absolutely central to reducing HIV rates in Australia as it allows people to learn their HIV status at the time they are most infectious, taking the appropriate risk reduction strategies which prevent onward transmission. Australia has committed itself to ambitious targets to halve HIV rates by 2015. This can only be achieved by increasing the number of people on HIV treatments and ensuring easy access to community based rapid testing.”

The next step in the process to make the tests available will be for Alere, the manufacturer of the test to negotiate a price with the Medical Services Advisory Committee for reimbursement through Medicare. VAC/GMHC will be working with AFAO to ensure that this process is facilitated as quickly as possible.

Williams says, “Rapid testing reduces the long wait time in Victoria from a week to less than an hour. We hope this will encourage more gay men to seek an HIV test more often.

 VAC/GMHC will work with our government, clinical and research partners to establish rapid HIV testing in the State as soon as possible.”

“Modelling suggests that approximately 31% of new HIV infections are estimated to be transmitted from gay men with undiagnosed HIV” says Sam Venning, President of Living Positive Victoria “Living Positive Victoria is keen to see new testing technologies that enable people living with HIV to be diagnosed sooner thus leading to better health outcomes – both for themselves and for good public health. With late diagnoses on the rise in Australia, we hope that rapid testing will stop this trend."

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