23.8 C
Byron Shire
October 19, 2021

An innovation in men’s sexual health

Latest News

Entertainment in the Byron Shire for the week beginning 19 October, 2021

Check out what's on at the cinema this week in Ballina and Byron

Other News

Cartoon of the week – 13 October, 2021

The Echo loves your letters and is proud to provide a community forum on the issues that matter most to our readers and the people of the NSW north coast.

AI confirms over 85% of the world is affected by human-induced climate change

Brought to you by The Echo and Cosmos Magazine Climate complexity unpacked to reveal the wide reach of human-induced climate change Eighty-five percent of...

One new COVID case in Lismore and Local Health District venues of concerns

Northern NSW Local Health District says there has been one new case of COVID-19 reported for the are to 8pm 17 October.

STP inches closer

Paul Bibby’s article ‘Ocean Shores STP (OS STP) inches closer to closure’ (6 October) raises some questions with me...

Editorial: Clear as a muddled government

Good news! Local police will not be actively enforcing the government’s Public Health (COVID-19 General) Order 2021 when it comes to business activity – see NSW govt’s Health Order lacks clarity.

Dr COVID

The other day I met a Mullumbimby doctor. As I used to live in Mullum and Mullum was in...

An innovation for men’s health means that men who have sex with men will now be able to test for HIV from home.

NSW’s leading HIV prevention organisation, ACON, has launched a new HIV testing service –  you[TEST], which is a convenient and contactless way to test for HIV.

The new service allows men to connect with a trained peer via virtual appointment and be provided with information about two different home testing options. After making a choice between either the HIV self-testing kit or the Dried Blood Spot collection kit, a kit will be mailed out so men can do the test for HIV themselves. The service also offers the option of a follow up chat by phone or video call to provide further information, and referral support if needed.

you[TEST] is free with no Medicare card needed

The new service is free with no Medicare card needed and is available to all gay men and men who have sex with men (cis and trans) living in NSW.

ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said you[TEST] is all about providing men with a new option to get a HIV test during the time of COVID-19.

‘We know our communities are engaged when it comes to looking after their sexual health,’ said Mr Parkhill. ‘But disruptions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic have made it difficult for some to get tested for HIV. With pressure on frontline health workers, we understand that some local sexual health services have been disrupted, there are reports that some are putting off accessing regular health checks at this time. you[TEST] allows men to continue their HIV testing routine and know their HIV status without having to visit a clinic.’

The new service is a variation on ACON’s successful a[TEST] service, which sees sexual health screening and sexual health information delivered by peers, supported by nurses, in community-based settings.

‘Our a[TEST] services remain a very popular way to test for HIV for gay and other men who have sex with men in NSW. Since it was introduced in 2013, tens of thousands of guys have accessed an a[TEST] clinic,’ said Mr Parkhill. ‘This new contactless service will be based on similar principles that have made a[TEST] a success, with clients supported by peers throughout the process.

Layers of support to help men overcome barriers

‘Gay and other men who have sex with men in our communities can already access self-testing devices such as HIV home testing kit or the Dried Blood Spot test kit independently.
‘Our new service puts in layers of support to help men overcome barriers such as concern that they don’t know how to use the test kit, fear of a positive result, or avoiding screening due to privacy concerns related to showing up at a clinic. Our you[TEST] service provides added support from a trained peer, and links to follow up care if it is needed across NSW.’

Parkhill said regular testing for HIV is vital because if people don’t know their HIV status, they can’t improve their health or take action to prevent onward transmission but maintaining comprehensive sexual health checks is also important. 

‘With you[TEST], we are helping men prioritise testing for HIV – wherever they are. However, ACON also recommends people continue to visit their GP or local sexual health clinic when possible for a comprehensive sexual health screen, complete with STI testing.    

‘With ongoing testing, and the use of evidence-based HIV prevention strategies such as condoms, PrEP and undetectable viral load, our communities will continue to drive down new HIV transmissions in NSW.’

Find out more about you[TEST] at endinghiv.org.au/youtest.

Previous articlePublic native forests
Next articleGulgan Road gaz0ebo

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

2 COMMENTS

  1. Roger Everhard (and if that’s not a pseudonym parading as clever, I’ve never seen one!):

    Why should we not be encouraging this new form of testing for HIV? Your reasoning is questioned.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Iona Herbs

Pam Morrow from Iona Herbs is a one-woman-show. She has spent her whole life growing herbs and produce on the Tyagarah property where she...

The Great Reopening

S Haslam What a time to go out in Byron – easy to park and, for the shy retiring types like myself, a less frantic...

Bring your people together!

It’s time to bring people together! Wherever you might like to party, Event Byron Bay has you covered. From dining table set-ups to the...

Cr Darlene Cook: ‘working to restore accountability and trust in our Council’

Current Lismore Councillor Darlene Cook has served one term on Lismore Council and at the December LAG election, she plans to run for Mayor.