Atomo Diagnostics, the manufacturer and supplier of Australia’s only TGA approved HIV self-test, and the Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations (AFAO) have aligned to help counter the spread of HIV/AIDS around the country.
The alliance coincides with World AIDS Day (1 December) this week. The initial offering of the self-tests is for Sydney and Western Australia, with other jurisdictions throughout Australia to follow in mid-December. The devices will retail for $25 each.
The Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations has welcomed the arrival of HIV self-tests in Australian pharmacies as a critically important additional tool to help people know their HIV status.
‘As we mark the start of HIV Awareness Week, this is a very welcome piece of news,’ said Darryl O’Donnell, CEO of AFAO. ‘Testing is absolutely critical to preventing HIV transmission. Once people know their status they can start treatment which allows them to completely suppress the virus, preventing further transmission.
‘Testing is the first step and this device gives people who wish to test the choice to do so at home,’ he said. ‘While stigma and discrimination are easing they still present barriers for many people knowing their status. Being able to perform a finger prick test in the comfort of your own home will encourage more people to test for HIV.’
Self-testing means more testing
The elimination of HIV transmission remains a key focus for both Australia’s LGBTIQ Community and the Australian Government, and the availability of self-testing throughout many pharmacies come mid-December will help make that goal achievable.
Atomo’s HIV Self-Test is currently the only option to support self-monitoring for HIV infection and gives individuals the confidence to take immediate action – allowing them to know their status.
Darryl O’Donnell said there is compelling Australian research to show HIV self-tests will increase testing among people who won’t otherwise see a doctor for a test, or who need to test regularly.
‘The Australian Government’s goal is to end HIV transmission. New technologies such as HIV self-tests help power our progress.’ he said.
Co-founder and Managing Director of Atomo Diagnostics, John Kelly, said the opening of pharmacy channels for supply of the Atomo HIV Self-Test and the removal of prohibitions on advertising the product and Atomo’s direct to consumer website represent a significant step forward in the fight against HIV transmission in Australia.
He said AFAO’s support has assisted in driving these regulatory changes.
The Atomo test
Atomo is the only company in Australia with an approved HIV self-test listed by TGA on the ARTG. John Kelly said the company was proud to be able to make their home screening tool more widely available to the community.
Managing Director of the Sydney-based Serafim Pharmacy, Nick Serafim said, ‘Serafims Bourke St Pharmacy are stocking the ATOMO HIV Self-Test especially for those patients not getting regular testing through their doctors.
‘The ATOMO HIV self-test provides an accurate and convenient way to test for HIV. This in turn enables patients to seek effective treatment options as soon as possible.’
Western Australia’s Pharmacy 777 Group’s Kristian Ray said he was proud to get behind such an important community health initiative and partner with Atomo Diagnostics to increase the reach of HIV testing to the community.
‘Having this self-test available in pharmacy is an important step in community pharmacy’s role in HIV prevention,’ he said.
According to Mr Ray, community pharmacists provide convenient access and support to connect people to allied health and HIV support services in their local areas. ‘We are also working to improve access to support across the state including in regional locations where local services may be limited,’ he said.