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Prevention, Testing and Treatment the Key to NSW HIV Elimination

This HIV Awareness Week, and in the lead up to World AIDS Day (1 December),
Central Coast Local Health District is encouraging people across the region at risk of
HIV to get tested.

As NSW opens up, it is a good time for the community to speak to a healthcare
professional about HIV testing and prevention options available to them.

NSW Health, Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant said the state has made great
progress in the virtual elimination of the virus however testing rates are down from
last year, driven by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve come a long way over the last 40 years and have many new tools to help
prevent HIV transmission including effective HIV treatment, condoms, sterile injecting
equipment, and prevention medication – PrEP,” Dr Chant said.

“Early testing and diagnosis linked to treatment prevents transmission and enables people
living with HIV to enjoy a long and healthy life.”

From January to September 2021, 141 NSW residents were diagnosed with HIV, a
decrease of 31% compared to the average for the last five years. This decline was
likely driven by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and restricted movement, as
people remained at home.

Michael Williamson, Nurse Unit Manager at Holden Street Clinic, said getting tested
is vital.

“As we start to open up, it is essential that at risk people get tested now,” Mr
Williamson said.

“People can get tested easily and confidentially at their local GP or sexual health
service. Online and home-based testing options include Dried Blood Spot test, a free
finger prick test which is mailed to you, and ATOMO self-test kits will be available in
pharmacies soon.”

The NSW HIV Strategy 2021–2025 aims to achieve a 90% reduction in the rate of
preventable HIV infection to achieve the virtual elimination of HIV transmission in

In 2021-22 the NSW Government is investing $23.7 million in services to strengthen
HIV testing, treatment, and prevention.

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