Rapid HIV testing roadshow an Australian first

Rapid HIV testing roadshow an Australian first

HIV Foundation Queensland is taking its new Rapid Roadshow vehicles to the road in the coming weeks in an Australian-first concept aimed at raising awareness around 20-minute rapid HIV testing.

Two of the foundation’s Community HIV Education and Prevention (CHEP) Program vehicles will travel from Cairns in the north to Ipswich and Toowoomba in south-east Queensland with many stops in between between November 3-21, on a mission to raise awareness about HIV facts and rapid testing.

Queensland Health Minister Lawrence Springborg said the roadshow message of  “get HIV informed, get HIV tested” was an important one.

“HIV testing and treatment have changed significantly in recent years,” he said.

“This initiative of the CHEP program and the HIV Foundation Queensland aims to provide information and education to Queenslanders so they can become HIV informed.

“If you or someone you know are at risk of HIV, the CHEP team will be on hand to the provide details of the closest location where you can be HIV tested.”

Rapid HIV testing is a quick option for anyone at risk to get HIV tested and is available at numerous locations across the state, as well as other parts of Australia.

HIV Foundation chief executive Tony Majer said with an estimated three and a half thousand people living with HIV in Queensland, initiatives like the Rapid Roadshow were essential.

“The Rapid Roadshow is an important opportunity for us to reach a wide audience across Queensland with the ‘get HIV informed, get HIV tested message’,” he said.

“The eye-catching Rapid Roadshow vehicles are themed with colourful and vibrant pink flamingos and we encourage anyone seeking more information about HIV or rapid testing to come and join us on the astro turf lawn and chat to our team of HIV educators.

“Our CHEP team will conduct fun quizzes and give away merchandise to reinforce HIV awareness messages.”

HIV-positive Sydney 2000 Olympic medalist and advocate Ji Wallace (pictured above) said the CHEP Rapid Roadshow was vital in breaking down the barriers around testing and awareness.

“The HIV message has stopped in recent years for many reasons which has contributed to a spike in new transmissions,” he said.

“Taking the ‘get HIV informed, get HIV tested’ message on the road, to the people, is a new phase in HIV awareness.

“Historically, since the HIV epidemic arrived on our doorstep, it has pained anyone needing peace of mind or indeed medical action to wait for more than a week for results. Now thankfully, we have the rapid testing available throughout many sites across Queensland.

“Knowing your status is paramount and educating yourself on HIV means you have the power. You have the power to make the right decisions when required to do so. What actions to take, what situations you feel comfortable in and what to do when you need assistance.”

Rapid Roadshow full schedule is available online at www.chep.hiv

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