HIV self-testing flawed
A Singaporean study has found that self-administered HIV rapid testing was not reliable, despite almost 90 percent of participants preferring the privacy it offered.
The study, published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes last month, found 85 percent of participants performed the test incorrectly and as a consequence more than 50 percent received invalid results.
A further 12 percent misread the results even when the test was performed correctly, with HIV-negative participants significantly less accurate readers than positive participants.
Professor Andrew Grulich from the National Centre for HIV Epidemiology and Clinical Research said rapid testing required a very significant level of training.
The result of an incorrect diagnosis from these tests is potentially disastrous. A person receiving an incorrect diagnosis can behave pretty badly, Grulich said.
Rapid testing must be conducted with a pathologist under Australian regulations and is not covered by Medicare.
A spokeswoman for the Health Department said there are currently no plans to introduce self-administered rapid testing in Australia.