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World AIDS Day – HIV testing resources from NSW Health

Ending HIV by 2020 campaign

World AIDS Day – HIV testing resources from NSW Health

World AIDS Day is held annually on 1 December and the theme for Australia this year is ‘HIV is still here – and it’s on the move‘.

World AIDS Day aims to encourage Australians to educate themselves and others about HIV; to take action to reduce the transmission of HIV by promoting prevention strategies; and to ensure that people living with HIV can participate fully in the life of the community, free from stigma and discrimination.

Data from NSW Health show that heterosexual people with HIV are more likely than homosexual men to be diagnosed with advanced HIV infection. A late diagnosis increases the risk of morbidity and mortality, and can contribute to ongoing HIV transmission before the person with HIV infection is aware of their HIV status.

And because many patients don’t realise they’re at risk of HIV, they don’t communicate potential risk behaviours that could prompt testing soon after exposure.

Around 40% of the HIV diagnoses in NSW are made by GPs like you, who may make one or two HIV diagnoses in their career.

To end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020, HIV testing has been made easier. Patient ‘informed consent’ is all that is required to test for HIV; pre-test counselling is no longer required. GPs also have the support of the NSW HIV Support Program who offer individual assistance to GPs at that critical time of making a diagnosis.

Recent advancements in HIV treatment mean that your patients with diagnosed HIV can enjoy significantly improved health outcomes and have near normal life expectancy.

As a health professional, you can:

  • Test all people with risk factors and strongly advise regular testing. A simple HIV Testing Table is available for reference.
  • Be proactive and offer an HIV test whether or not the patient is attending for sexual health reasons.
  • Be aware that patients may not disclose their sexuality or sexual preferences.
  • Work with patients who have tested HIV positive to determine who may be at risk and arrange for testing of contacts as soon as possible. A GP Contact Tracing Table is available for assistance in supporting your patients that have recently been diagnosed with HIV.

Other important resources and links:

Thank you for considering HIV testing among your patients – together, we can end HIV transmission in NSW by 2020.

CLICK HERE for more information on ending HIV, prevention, treatment and testing.

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