Dried Blood Spot HIV Test

NSW Health is committed to achieving the virtual elimination of HIV transmission by 2020 as outlined in the NSW HIV Strategy 2016-2020. To reach this goal, very high levels of testing are required among people at risk of HIV. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV provides the best health outcomes for individuals and eliminates the risk of passing the infection to others. However, in NSW, approximately 35 per cent of HIV diagnoses occur at a late stage of the disease. To improve testing rates, NSW Health has invested in innovative testing strategies to ensure a mix of HIV testing options are available to meet the needs of our priority populations.

The Dried Blood Spot (DBS) HIV Test is a new testing option for people at risk of HIV. It is a self-collection test, which enables people to collect a finger prick sample of blood, at home. The sample is posted to St Vincent’s Reference Laboratory for analysis. Results and follow up care is coordinated through the NSW Sexual Health Infolink.

The DBS HIV Test is highly accurate and provided free of charge to the patient. At the early stage of the trial, it is available to men who have had sex with men; people from countries where HIV is more common (Africa or Asia); or people who have sexual partners from these regions. This type of testing is particularly beneficial for people concerned about known barriers to HIV testing in conventional health settings, including embarrassment, cost or concerns about venepuncture sampling.

GPs may see patients who have undertaken a DBS HIV Test or who have questions about the test. Further information can be found at www.hivtest.health.nsw.gov.au or by contacting Rachel Katterl, Senior Policy Analyst, HIV and STI Branch, NSW Ministry of Health.