​A new, free at-home self-test kit for HIV is now available on the North Shore and Northern Beaches.

Offered as part of a statewide pilot program, the simple kits are designed to encourage everyone who is at risk of contracting the virus to be tested, according to Dr Rosalind Foster, medical director at Clinic 16 – Northern Sydney Local Health District's sexual health clinic.

Dr Foster said more than a third of HIV diagnoses occurred in the disease's late stages.


​"This can have serious impacts on patients and broader implications for transmission of HIV infection," Dr Foster said.

"This new test is particularly beneficial for people who are concerned about barriers to HIV testing in conventional health settings, including embarrassment, cost, transport or logistical issues or concerns about needles.

"Dried blood spot tests for HIV are highly sensitive and specific, and the tests are provided at no cost to the person requesting them."

Dr Foster said conducting the new dried blood spot test at home was as easy as pricking a finger and dabbing the blood onto blotting paper.

Five drops are needed, and a lancet and the blotting paper are included in the test kit.

Once the sample is dry, it simply needs to be posted in the supplied, reply-paid envelope.

Results are known after about a week, with their delivery and follow-up co-ordinated through the Sexual Health Infolink and Northern Sydney Local Health District (NSLHD).

Dr Foster said the test was available for men who have sex with men, people from Africa or Asia, or people whose partners are from Africa or Asia.

To learn more about the test or order to a testing kit, visit https://www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au/