Rapid HIV Testing
RAPID HIV TESTING IS NOW AVAILABLE at TAYLOR SQUARE PRIVATE CLINIC in SYDNEY.***
Rapid HIV testing is available now in New South Wales as part of pilot programs and studies into the effectiveness of the new testing technology.
There is no extra charge for people who choose to take the Rapid HIV Test as a part of an STI check.
Rapid HIV Tests are not good for diagnosing early infection.
The standard blood test is the best method for detecting early HIV infection as it often detects it two to three weeks after infection.
Currently Taylor Square Private Clinic is only offering the Rapid HIV Test to people who make an appointment. The clinic is performing the finger prick rapid HIV test.
***Rapid HIV Tests available at no extra charge (by appointment)
The RAPID HIV Testing Procedure
The aim of the rapid testing process is to make the testing take no longer than 30 minutes in total. Generally, when you arrive, you are provided with information on HIV rapid testing. The test is then performed by a finger prick blood sample.
The test works by detecting the antibodies that are produced by the immune system as a response to HIV infection. After 20 minutes or so, the test kit will react to the antibodies (if they’re present, of course) producing what’s known as a ‘reactive result’. This doesn’t mean you’re HIV positive. A reactive result is considered preliminary so blood will also be taken and sent to the lab for a standard HIV blood test.
While you’re waiting for the rapid test result, nursing staff will take some blood so the lab can test for HIV, as well as syphilis and hepatitis. If you elect to also be tested for STIs you will be asked to provide a throat swab, genital swab and urine sample so you can also be tested for chlamydia and gonorrhea.
You will then have a short wait of 5 -10 minutes. You are then called back in to get the result of your rapid test.
The results of your lab-based HIV and STI tests will be available up to one week later. The lab-based HIV test will confirm your rapid test result.
To contact Taylor Square Private Clinic please call our friendly reception staff on: 02 9331 6151 and mention that you want a Rapid HIV Test.
Clinic director Dr Robert Finlayson adds that trialing new methods of making testing more accessible falls in line with New South Wales Health’s ‘Treatment as Prevention’ policy.
“It is estimated that there are over 8,000 people in Australia living with HIV who don’t know [they are HIV-positive]. Several studies have shown that having to have a blood test and come back for the results at another time are perceived as barriers to testing by many people in high risk groups.”
“So if we can have rapid testing or any other method that is going to lessen the barriers to testing hopefully we can identify more people who have HIV but currently don’t know. Some estimates are that up to one in five men who have sex with men are HIV positive, but don’t know it.”
What You Need To Know About RAPID HIV Testing
Like laboratory-based HIV tests, rapid HIV tests have a window period. The window period is the time between being infected with HIV and the appearance of detectable antibodies to the virus.
While most people will produce antibodies to HIV in less than six weeks from infection, the window period for rapid tests is three months. This means that if you have had a recent exposure to HIV, the rapid test may not detect an infection.
There are three types of results that you could get from a Rapid HIV Test:
• Non-reactive – HIV antibodies were not detected in the sample. It’s important to note that people in the ‘window period’ might also receive a non-reactive result.
• Reactive – HIV antibodies were detected in the sample, but this result needs to be confirmed with laboratory based blood testing. As rapid HIV tests are very sensitive, a reactive response can be triggered by a number of things not HIV related. If a reactive response occurs, there is a small chance that this reactive response is a false response (not related to HIV).
• Invalid – there is a small possibility that the rapid test may show an invalid response. This result is not an indication of a person’s HIV status. In this situation a person will be offered a repeat rapid test.
Remember that all these results are only preliminary and blood will still need to be sent to the laboratory for full testing
Phone: (02) 9331 6151.