HIV home testing kit goes on sale in UK

People in the UK can now buy a testing kit for HIV online which promises to provide a result within 15 minutes.

LONDON, ENGLAND, UK (APRIL 27, 2015) (REUTERS/BIOSURE) – An HIV self-test kit has gone on sale in the UK allowing people to test for the virus at home and get a result within 15 minutes.

The device tests for levels of antibodies in a small droplet of blood taken from the fingertip.

BioSure, the makers of the test, say it is 99.7 percent accurate.

It is estimated that about 25,000 people in Britain are unaware they are living with HIV.

HIV is a manageable disease but late diagnosis can have a significant impact on life expectancy.

It is hoped that the self-test kit, which is available online, will encourage more people to have themselves tested.

“I think the challenges in getting 25,000 people who have HIV but don’t know they have it are three-fold. One’s ignorance, one’s stigma and and one’s complacency. I think some people are complacent and think well it’s a gay man’s thing, it’s never going to happen to me. Some people are complacent and they think well I had an HIV test a few years ago, I’ll be fine. But I think there’s a huge amount of stigma that surrounds the virus and there’s no other virus in history that has so much baggage,” said Paul Fleming of HIV charity Positive East.

Fleming said he welcomed the new test but warned added a note of caution.

“I think a home test can reduce undiagnosed HIV or late diagnosed HIV. We think it’s a good thing. I am concerned about the amount of support that someone who tests at home and tests positive, what would they do, where would they go, would they know where to go.”

BioSure recommends people visit a doctor in the event of a positive result.