More Pop-up testing sites for Mardi Gras
A further pop-up testing site will open in Newtown this week in the lead-up to Mardi Gras. The pop-up site will deliver rapid HIV testing in an effort to encourage more gay young men to get tested.
The pop-up testing service will be run out of a retro caravan at The Hub in Newtown. Additional Rapid Testing services are also available from a pop-up shop on Oxford Street, which launched in early February.
The pop-up testing sites are an initiative between NSW Health, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney RPA Sexual Health, Australian Federation of AIDS Organisations and ACON.
A recent rise in the number of young men being diagnosed with HIV has highlighted the need for increased testing and early diagnosis of the infection if the health community is to meet its mandate of Ending HIV by 2020.
NSW Chief Health Officer, Dr Kerry Chant, said that the steady increase shows the need to engage young men in regular testing and safe sex practises.
“Across the HIV sector we are doing things differently. Outreach activities like this pop-up are one of the ways we are starting conversations with younger people,” Dr Chant said.
Associate Professor Catherine O’Connor , Director Royal Prince Alfred Sexual Health said early diagnosis was critical to timely treatment.
“With rapid HIV testing now available in 19 locations throughout Sydney, including right here in Newtown, guys can now get on the spot results in less than 30 minutes. And if they do test positive, new HIV treatments make living with the virus much easier than it used to be”, O’Connor said.
The Newtown pop up, will operate until Thursday 27th February. The pop up will be referring people to a[TEST] Newtown on King St which will be open extended hours to provide on the spot HIV and STI testing services while the pop up is there. the service is free and confidential.
Sexual Health Service, SLHD, has planned a series of activities during the Mardi Gras festival to provide greater access to testing for gay men. RPA's Sexual Helath Clinic will extend operating hours to include early morning, lunch time and evening appointments to allow greater access to Rapid Testing.