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Home HIV testing kits now legal in UK

9:00am Thursday 10th April 2014 content supplied byNHS Choices

Home sampling kits are also available, which allow you to take a saliva sample or blood spot and send them off to a laboratory for testing.

These are available online and from some pharmacies, but you will generally have to pay for them.


How has the news been received?

Most of the reaction to the government's change in policy has been positive. A spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said ""HIV self-testing kits may help increase diagnosis by providing more choice for people who have been at risk but are reluctant to get a test in person from existing services."

Certain sections of the media have raised concerns that home testing could lead to misdiagnosis in people who lack the proper training to interpret the results of the tests.

Similar concerns were raised when home pregnancy kits were introduced and they are now a commonly accepted form of testing.


What if I test positive for HIV using a self-test kit?

It is important is that any positive test result is confirmed by a health professional, not least because if you are HIV positive you will need advice on treatment options.

And if a test proved negative that should not be taken as licence to take sexual risks or inject illegal drugs.

The most effective way to reduce your risk of HIV is to always use a condom during sex and never share needles if you are an injecting drug user. Read more about HIV prevention.

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"Kits allowing people to test themselves for HIV at home can be bought over the counter in the UK for the first time," BBC News recently reported. The UK government has amended the law so "do it yourself" home testing kits.

Links to Headlines

UK law passes sales of HIV home tests before they exist. BBC News, April 6 2014

Sale of HIV home tests legalised in the UK: Change in the law means the kits could soon appear in shops. Mail Online, April 4 2014

Useful Links

Further Readings

Public Health England. HIV Testing and Self Testing - Answers to frequently asked questions (PDF 217 KB). April 2014

Press release

Department of Health. Modernisation of HIV rules to better protect public. August 15 2013

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