Sydney’s a[TEST] has celebrated its second year and delivered over 10,000 HIV and STI tests to men in the queer community.
The service is NSW’s only peer-driven, community-based testing centre for gay men. It opened in February 2015, later expanding to increase capacity and create opportunities for future services.
Funding for a[TEST] Oxford Street has now been secured until early 2020.
ACON CEO Nicolas Parkhill said making HIV testing fast, free, convenient and culturally appropriate has been the key to the success of community-based testing. a[TEST] Oxford Street now delivers the largest number of rapid HIV tests in NSW.
“Recent data from the NSW Ministry of Health shows that not only are new HIV notifications starting to decline, but HIV testing is continuing to increase both overall in NSW and among high risk populations,” Parkhill said.
“In fact, figures show that 76 per cent of gay men in Sydney had an HIV test between 2015 and 2016, the highest figure since this data started being collected in 1996. The fact that a[TEST] Oxford Street has seen thousands of these men is very encouraging—especially for a new service—which demonstrates that increasing testing options leads to increased testing rates.”
“We see lots of return visitors as we know men appreciate the high quality, easy and convenient service we offer with our partners, Sydney Sexual Health Centre,” said Karen Price, Deputy CEO and Director of HIV and Sexual Health at ACON.
Associate Professor Anna McNulty from Sydney Sexual Health Centre said, “We are delighted to be working with ACON to provide sexual health services in South Eastern Sydney.
“Along with HIV and STI testing, we are also providing PrEP to those enrolled in the EPIC-NSW study. The combination of our clinical team and ACON’s peer testers is a partnership that is delivering real results.”
“We are very grateful to the team at Sydney Sexual Health for our partnership,” Parkhill said.
“We are also very grateful to gay men in NSW who have consistently shown that they’re committed to looking after themselves and their partners, by testing more often.
“With Mardi Gras over for another year, we’re encouraging gay men in Sydney to book a test at any of the clinics across Sydney and NSW. These days it’s easier than ever to get tested and help end HIV.”