Cervical cancer self-tests helping to break down barriers and increase screening rates

ABC Health & Wellbeing, Posted Friday 8th March 2019 at 14:54

In Australia, 80 per cent of cervical cancers are found in women who are overdue for screening or have never been screened.

“We know there’s an equity issue in our cervical screening program,” said Dr Saville, executive director of the VCS Foundation, a cervical screening not-for-profit.

“Women from lower socio-economic settings, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, and women from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds do not screen as often … and are more likely to get cancer.”

In a bid to overcome these barriers, a self-testing process was introduced to Australia’s National Cervical Screening Program in 2017.

Support for ending and managing HIV

Australian Government Department of Health, 29 November 2018

The Australian Government is strengthening its commitment to ending HIV with the announcement of funding for a new strategy that aims to virtually eliminate the transmission of HIV, the approval of the first HIV self-testing kit and the listing of a new medicine on the PBS.

The first HIV self-testing kit, the Atomo Self Test was approved for use by the TGA yesterday. The test is a single-use rapid finger stick test for the detection of antibodies to HIV and will enable people to test for HIV in their own home.

This will make testing accessible and convenient especially for people that need to test frequently or do not test at all.

The medicine Juluca® (dolutegravir and rilpivirine), which works to stop the replication of the HIV virus, will be listed on the PBS on December 1, which is World AIDS Day.

 

Giving gay men self-test kits increases HIV testing by 50% – but STI tests decrease

aidsmap/nam, 21 August 2018

Gay men who were offered HIV home-testing kits took 50% more tests than men who only took HIV tests at clinics or community organisations, a randomised controlled study from Seattle in the USA has found.

The men who could self-test took fewer tests for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), though it is not completely clear whether this was because they went less often for STI checkups or had fewer STI symptoms.

 

Barriers to HIV testing for people born in Southeast Asia & sub-Saharan Africa

Curtin University,  2017

Over the past decade Australia has seen an increase in HIV notifications among people born in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and South East Asia (SEA).

People born in these regions have the highest rates of HIV diagnosis by region of birth and are overrepresented in late or advanced presentations of HIV infection.

Previous research indicates that migrants from SSA and SEA attend health services in Australia regularly, but only 50% have ever tested for HIV.

This report provides a brief overview of the preliminary results from the Barriers to HIV
testing project – a qualitative research project using focus groups and in-depth interviews to explore the barriers and enablers to HIV testing among priority communities born in SSA and SEA, to better understand the factors influencing late
diagnosis.

Can Australia be the first country to eliminate HIV transmissions?

ABC Radio National Life Matters, Monday 5 June 2017 9:06 AM

Did you know that Australia has a national strategy to reduce HIV transmission to zero by 2020? That’s a big ask and it’s only three years away.

There are currently about 25,000 people living with HIV in Australia and the number of new infections each year is down to about 1000. But it’s been stuck at that number for about five years.

This week in NSW it’s HIV testing week, a campaign which aims not only to encourage people to get tested but to normalise the idea of getting tested. Continuing stigma around HIV means that there are still too many people reluctant to get the test, even if they know they’re in a high risk group.

Guests: Darryl O’Donnell, Chief Executive of the Australian Federation of AIDS organisations (AFAO) & ‘Rachael’, a Melbourne woman living with HIV

 

NSW introduces Dried Blood Spot test for HIV

NSW Health, December 1, 2016

A new HIV testing service has launched in NSW, allowing people to mail off a sample of their blood and receive their results by phone, SMS or email. There’s no need to visit a doctor, clinic or pathology centre. 

DBS HIV testing is for people living in New South Wales, who are over 16 years old. The test is for gay and other men who have sex with men, people from Africa or Asia and people who have current or previous sexual partners from Africa or Asia.

For other groups of people, conventional laboratory HIV testing may be more suitable.