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New rapid syphilis test available from today

PRESS RELEASE: Friday 01 August 2008

New rapid syphilis test available from today

A new rapid syphilis test service is being piloted at Auckland’s Burnett Centre will assist in the early detection of syphilis from today.

“This is another great move forward,” said New Zealand AIDS Foundation (NZAF) National Positive Health Manager, Eamonn Smythe. “Since there is research which directly links an increased risk of HIV transmission to syphilis, early detection and treatment is another weapon in our fight against HIV infection.”

The importance of testing is relevant for both HIV positive and negative people, as a compromised immune system will allow syphilis to progress faster for the positive person and regardless of HIV status if positive to syphilis this increases the risk of HIV transmission.

The test is 99% accurate and will help towards early diagnosis of this Sexually Transmitted Infection (STI) which unlike HIV can be successfully treated by antibiotics.

”The test involves taking two drops of blood via a finger prick, which is then put into the testing device. This test takes ten minutes and is available on site at the Burnett Centre and could be done alongside the existing HIV test so only one prick is needed,” Smythe says. “Our staff are fully trained and professionally qualified in their areas of expertise ensuring that our services are of a high quality and accountable.”

The NZAF proposes to introduce the rapid syphilis testing service to the rest of the country via its centres by October this year. This latest test is another New Zealand first for the NZAF, who introduced the FASTest (Fast, Anonymous, Simple Test for HIV) on 01 December (World AIDS Day) 2006.

Burnett Centre Contact Details:
35 Hargreaves Street, College Hill, Ponsonby, Auckland
Phone: (09) 3095560


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