NSW Health is encouraging people to get tested during HIV Testing Week to help reach the goal of ending HIV transmission across the State by 2020. HIV testing is now fast and easy with a variety of free and confidential services, including the NSW dried blood spot (DBS) self-testing service that can be completed from the comfort of your own home. In 2017-18, the NSW Ministry of Health is investing $22.4 million in services to strengthen HIV testing, treatment and prevention across the State. HIV Testing Week runs from 1-7 June.
Alison Nikitas, HIV and Related Programs Manager from Southern NSW Local Health District said it’s important people get tested so they know their HIV status. “Knowing your HIV status is a good thing. It means people with HIV can start treatment earlier which not only has better health outcomes, but can also help prevent it being passed on to others,” Ms Nikitas said. “We are making good progress towards ending HIV transmission in NSW by 2020. “Last year alone there was a 19 per cent reduction in the number of men who have sex with men diagnosed with HIV, compared to the average of the past six years. “The fall in HIV notifications in this category shows that more testing, high treatment, condom use, and the addition of the new HIV prevention treatment PrEP, are very effective.” However, Ms Nikitas said there is still work to do. “In 2017, 67 people were diagnosed with HIV through heterosexual sex. This a 29 per cent rise compared to the previous six year average”, she said. “Last year, one in five people diagnosed with HIV in NSW acquired their infection through heterosexual sex.” Media Release