Sexual health unit's test a shot in the arm for fight against HIV

HUMAN immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing is being offered next week at the Orange sexual health unit and people are urged to have a check to make sure they aren’t infected.

Orange Health Service staff are encouraging people to either drop in or make an appointment at the Orange sexual health unit at 96 Kite Street, sometime next week during HIV Testing Week which runs from July 14 - 20.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said that rapid HIV testing is now available and it is easier and faster than ever before.

She said in NSW at the moment 10,500 people are living with diagnosed HIV infection.

“However, many people have not been tested recently, do not know they are HIV positive and are possibly transmitting HIV to others,” she said.

She said encouraging news is that in the first three months of this year there is a higher proportion of new HIV diagnoses in the early stages of the infection than in previous years, suggesting that the increase in testing is picking up more infections earlier.

“Most infections reported in 2013 were in gay and homosexually-active men which accounted for 78 per cent of diagnoses.

“Heterosexual cases are accounting for 17 per cent,” Dr Chant said.

She said last year HIV testing increased overall in NSW and among high risk groups, but more needs to be done.

“As well as gay men, heterosexual people who may be at risk of HIV should be tested,” she said.

This includes people from countries where there are high rates of HIV infection and anyone who has had unprotected sex with a high risk person.

Orange sexual health unit will be open for drop-in HIV testing and appointments from Monday to Friday next week from 8am to 6pm. 

For more information or inquiries please call the unit on 6392 8600 or 1800816925

janice.harris@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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