HIV at-home self-tests coming to Australia

Companies can now manufacture and sell HIV self-tests in Australia.
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01.HIV testing moving into the home

HIV at-home testing picture of stethoscope and a question mark

Australians will now be able to test themselves for HIV in their own homes, with a restriction banning the manufacture and sale of HIV self-tests removed by the federal government. The changes aim to make testing and treatment for HIV easier and more accessible.

"Companies can now apply to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) for approval to supply their test kits, and if they meet Australia’s rigorous standards and are approved will be able to be sold direct to consumers," Health Minister Peter Dutton said.

"We know that there are Australians living with undiagnosed HIV. Home self-testing provides an additional testing option that complements current options and allows people living with HIV to learn their HIV status and seek appropriate treatment and support."

Early diagnosis of HIV is critical to ensure the virus isn't spread to others, and to help support and treat those suffering from it.

More funding for HIV therapies announced

The government has also committed more funding for HIV therapies. Amendments to the prescribing and dispensing arrangements for Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme-subsidised HIV antiretroviral therapies will come into play 1 July 2015.

"The Australian government has committed $16.2 million over four years to improve patient access to HIV antiretroviral therapies in the community," Dutton said.

"Previously, patients were restricted in where they could access these medicines. The changes mean that these medicines can now be dispensed through a pharmacy of the patient’s choice, including community pharmacies, regardless of where they were prescribed.

"This better reflects the desire of many Australians to receive care in the community rather than a hospital."

Move part of national coordinated approach

The move is part of five coordinated national strategies aimed at targeting HIV, viral hepatitis and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in the indigenous community.

The minister announced that new Hepatitis C treatments are also due to come onto the Australian market, with the TGA recently approving a medicine containing sofosbuvir. It is currently being considered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee.

“This is the first of a new group of antiviral medications on the way for chronic Hepatitis C, which are expected to offer significant probability of cure and the real possibility of reduction in prevalence of this disease,” Dutton said.



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