World AIDS Day – test for a diverse range of patients

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NSW Health data shows a need to increase HIV testing among heterosexual men who have sex with other men. These men may be in heterosexual relationships, be married, have children and/or come from a range of cultural and socio-economic backgrounds. For these men, having sex with other men may be hidden and separate from their public lives, they may not feel comfortable asking for an HIV test, or even see themselves at risk of HIV.
Some HIV infections are acquired by men who have sex overseas, in countries where HIV prevalence is high among the general population and/or in certain groups, such as sex workers, men who have sex with men, and people who inject drugs.
NSW Health Data suggest HIV in these groups of people is being diagnosed late. Late diagnosis can lead to HIV-related illness otherwise prevented by early effective treatment. Men with undiagnosed infection can also unknowingly pass HIV on to other sexual partners.
In the lead up to World AIDS Days (01 December), NSW Health encourages health professionals to increase HIV testing for all patients at risk of HIV. Health professionals should avoid assumptions about a person’s HIV risk and offer testing to patients who:
  • are heterosexual men who has sex with men
  • have had sex when traveling in a country where HIV is common
  • have had sex with someone from a country where HIV is common
  • come from a country where HIV is common
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and offer testing.
Resources to help you test
NSW Health provides resources and support to make HIV testing easier than ever.
Remember, the NSW HIV Support Program and NSW Sexual Health Infolink are there to support GP’s and patients when a diagnosis is made.

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