From April 2014, for the first time in the UK, you will be able to check your HIV status and get results instantly at home.
We’ve had HIV Rapid Testing for a while now, but these have been performed by a healthcare professional, these give you a quick and accurate results based on a tiny blood spot – usually with in about twenty minutes or so. In recent years we’ve also seen the arrival of HIV Home Sampling – this is where you provide either a blood or saliva sample in the comfort of your own home and post it off to a clinic or laboratory for analysis. But now the UK Government has moved to legalise HIV Home Testing – which will give you an instant result in your home.
Such tests until now have been illegal for a number of reasons, the primary one being the quality & accuracy of the test kits, but advances in sensitivity have made these tests incredibly accurate. The change in regulation is also a move to stem the flow of sub-par testing kits entering the UK market – these tests are often nothing more than a simple litmus test which costs pennies and sold for huge profits without actually having any relation to a HIV test.
There are of course concerns surrounding HIV Home Testing, chiefly the lack of support that a person usually receives when they get their results in person at a clinic – some think that this could lead to an increase in self harm, coerced testing and people burying their heads in the sand. But with 100,000 people living with HIV in the UK and 25,000 of those un-diagnosed it’s time to increase our efforts in getting more people tested and HIV Home Testing looks like it will be one more way to achieve that.
Tests will be available from pharmacies and selected providers from April 2014.
For further information read THT’s official statement on the issue.