New direction coming for PRONTO!

New direction coming for PRONTO!

LAST UPDATED // Thursday, 24 July 2014 11:03 Written by // James Findlay

Community health clinic, PRONTO, will introduce full sexual health screening as soon as possible to avoid becoming irrelevant now the Federal Government has lifted the ban on HIV home testing kits.

The push comes as research released this week during the AIDS 2014 Conference, confirms that gay men overwhelmingly prefer to have a full sexual health screen, rather than just a test for HIV

Researcher of the study, Associate Professor Mark Stoové, said only offering tests for HIV could mean missing out on other sexually transmitted infections.

"What's potentially a concern is the people who find PRONTO convenient for HIV testing may result in missed opportunities for other STI screens and the ability to be able to access other services is extremely valuable.

"If their testing routine is to get a sexual health screen every six months but they go to pronto, then maybe it might delay their tests for gonorrhea or chlamydia.

"It's not what we want to see given some of the potential contributions an active STI infection has on susceptibility to HIV.

The Victorian Government has provided funding to the PRONTO trial to incorporate STI screening, but the Victorian AIDS Council is still interpreting the federal legislation to work out the intricacies of conducting the full sexual health screenings.

Simon Ruth told MCV they want to introduce the full screening as soon as possible.

"It might be next week, it might be in a couple of months. We want to get it back on track as soon as we can"

A spokesperson from for Health Minister, David Davis, told MCV that current funding for PRONTO! continues until June 2015.

"The Victorian Government, through the evaluation being conducted by the Burnet Institute will monitor the impact of PRONTO! on people's access to testing and treatment"


James Findlay

James Findlay

James Findlay is a Melbourne-based journalist and broadcaster who has worked in community media for many years. He has won awards for his work on The Naughty Rude Show on SYN, and can be heard on JOY 94.9's breakfast program, Triple Threat, and Hide and Seek - exploring sex, sexuality and self. He is currently completing his Master of Public Health specialising in Sexual Health at Melbourne University, and a tutor in the School of Media and Communication at RMIT University.

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