Although sexual health has become less of a taboo subject, ensuring that people get tested for STDs remains a big issue. The NHS now offers DIY kits for those worried they might have caught something from a partner and don’t want to get tested by a doctor, but home HIV screening has not been possible — at least until today.
Britain’s first legally-approved HIV test is now on sale, promising 99.7 percent accuracy from three months after a person suspects they may have been exposed to the infection. It requires a drop of blood and can provide a clear result in around 15 minutes.
It’s hoped that by offering the DIY test, Britons will help lower the risk of passing on the disease to other people. According to the National Aids Trust, almost half of the people living with HIV find out late, meaning they’ve carried the virus for at least four years.
If the disease is diagnosed earlier, sufferers can receive treatment that makes it more manageable. Right now, the test is only available online for £29.95. Should a test show a positive result, it must then be confirmed with a professional health worker.
The product is not available in Northern Ireland, where such home kits are outlawed.
Free HIV tests can be obtained on the NHS across the UK.