AUSTRALIA’s peak HIV body is calling for the approval of self-testing devices to help find earlier diagnoses of the virus.

The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has urged the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) to fast-track the national approval of the devices, in light of the TGA’s plan to implement a new pathway for approval early next year.

Although the government lifted the ban on HIV self-testing devices over two years ago, suppliers still need TGA approval to sell them in the country.

In a report by ABC News, national president of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations Bridget Haire said the technology would be able to transform people’s understanding of the virus in Australia.

“We have this opportunity to dramatically change the HIV epidemic,” she said.

“We may be able to end new HIV infections in Australia – but that’s a matter not just of treatment and prevention, it’s also that we need to currently find out who has HIV in order to be able to end the epidemic.

“Testing is an absolutely critical part of that.”

Haire added that while the self-testing devices could help to find earlier diagnoses of HIV, they aren’t 100 per cent accurate.

“The tests are very accurate if they’re used the right way,” she said.

“So with a self-test, there’s a window period of about three months.

“That means the test you do today doesn’t tell you the HIV result for the risk behaviour you had yesterday or last week.”

The TGA is currently conducting consultation into the accelerated assessment of medical devices, and is considering submissions as part of the consultation process.

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