Healthy Communities is launching a new service called Testing Point, aimed at to providing free after hours peer-based HIV/STI testing to the LGBT community once a week on Tuesday nights from 6-8pm at their Teneriffe headquarters.

The new service will operate after hours for the convenience of clients who have indicated through research that they consistently find ‘convenience’ a limiting factor in accessing testing.

Testing Point will run as a six-month trial starting on November 27 during World AIDS Day Awareness Week (WAD)

There is a need to increase the number of gay men and other men who have sex with men testing for STIs at least annually,” Testing Point project coordinator Evie Ryder said.

“Queensland Health’s Sexual Health Clinics and the high LGBTI case load GPs currently provide a choice for men, but these services are operating at capacity.

“Providing a community-based testing option, run by peers, will attract gay men and other men who have sex with men who would not otherwise feel comfortable talking about their sexual practices.”

This new testing service will initially provide HIV and/or syphilis testing with the aim of providing full STI testing in 2013.

There is also the option for people to take part in a trial of a Rapid HIV testing.  The trial is currently underway to demonstrate the effectiveness of rapid HIV testing within Queensland.  Rates of false positives and false negatives will be assessed and correlated with the traditional HIV test as the gold standard.

Clients volunteering for a rapid HIV test will not be able to see the results of their rapid test (this test has not yet been approved), but will need to wait for the standard blood test result and return after a week.

Testing Point is run by volunteer nurses and volunteer private GPs. To attend the clinic you can just walk in on the Tuesday night or make an appointment on (07) 3017 1733

I hope this clinic will improve HIV testing rates for gay men and enable future community based HIV rapid testing when the test is TGA approved,” Ryder said.

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