A Review of the Use of Rapid HIV Testing in Community Settings, With Specific Reference to Australia

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Rapid HIV tests are used routinely as screening tests at the point of care in community settings in many developed and developing overseas countries, with reported clinical and operational benefits. In Australia, the uptake of rapid HIV testing has been limited to its use as a reference test in laboratories, but the 2011 National HIV Testing Policy now provides a quality-ensured framework for its use in community settings. Rapid HIV testing in Australia should be targeted where HIV prevalence rates are highest such as in men who have sex with men in urban settings, rather than rural, remote, or indigenous settings where HIV prevalence rates are lower. Barriers to uptake of rapid testing include current lack of testing rebates and high costs for registration of kits.

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