Prahran MP Clem Newton-Brown has pressed Health Minister David Davis to investigate HIV rapid testing options for Victoria.

In a speech to the Legislative Assembly last week, Newton-Brown said it was important Melbourne stayed up to date with HIV prevention strategies.

“In Australia, testing for HIV is a drawn-out process,” he said.

“It can take many weeks to get a result.”

Existing HIV rapid tests only need a finger prick and can produce results in about 30 minutes, instead of weeks.

Newton-Brown said there were significant advantages to rapid testing, including convenience, lower testing costs, faster results and increased rates of regular testing.

“It would be effective and it would be a powerful tool in breaking down barriers to existing testing methods,” he said.

“These technologies have been in use around the world in several countries and the Victorian AIDS Council seeks the speedy implementation of rapid testing in community settings as a priority.”

Victorian AIDS Council/Gay Mens Health Centre executive director Matt Dixon said both organisations were very keen to work with the Victorian Government to introduce rapid testing.

“We see rapid testing as a very useful tool to help reduce the number of new infections in Victoria,” he said.

“Making HIV testing easier to incorporate into your life means that if you become HIV positive, you’ll know earlier, which is great in term of your health.”

Melbourne will host the next International AIDS Conference in 2014.

The health minister did not respond to queries before publication.

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