The first home testing kit for HIV has gone on sale in the UK – with results in just 15 minutes.
Unlike previous home sampling kits the BioSure test does not need to be sent off to a lab and will directly give the user the results then and there.
The kit comprises of a safety lancet, a testing device and a plaster – along with information booklets. The user uses the safety lancet to create a small blood droplet on their finger, the testing device then takes that blood inside for testing, and the device is then inserted into a cap of solution where the device starts working. Results are given in 15 minutes, with 1 line for negative and 2 lines for positive. If the test returns a positive result then the user should contact a healthcare professional for a confirmatory test.
The BioSure test looks for HIV antibodies which are only detectable around three months after infection, so the test cannot take account of any possible risk or exposure within the last three months.
There are approximately 26,000 people in the UK who are HIV-positive but don’t know it. The Terrence Higgins Trust have welcomed the test and hope that it will encourage more people to get tested and know their status.
Dr Rosemary Gillespie, Chief Executive, said: “We campaigned for a long time to secure the legalisation of HIV self-test kits which happened in April 2014, so it is great to see the first self-test kits being approved... However, it is important to make sure people can get quick access to support when they get their result.”
Shaun Griffin, Executive Director of External Affairs, at the charity, said: “At the moment there are funding challenges throughout the NHS, including for sexual health services... It is absolutely critical that people have access to HIV tests and advice they need.”
The tests, which cost £29.95, are available online via BioSure at www.hivselftest.co.uk
HIV testing on the NHS through GPs, Hospitals and Sexual Health services remains free of charge.
If you have tested positive, please do not panic, there is lots of support out there for you. Our Support Pages hold the contact details of many HIV support organisations across the UK – and you can always contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.