People are now legally allowed to buy over the counter tests for HIV and diagnose themselves at home following changes to the UK law.
The law comes into effect after the Government approved home testing for HIV last September.
Despite this, there are still no tests available to buy in Britain, but it is hoped that they will be introduced into the UK this year or in early 2015.
Currently, home HIV testing kits are only available for purchase online, but there are concerns that these are unreliable and give “false results”.
The new tests however are expected to help the 25,000 undiagnosed HIV-positive people in Britain and provide a much safer and reliable method of self-diagnosis.
Heather Leake Date – HIV specialist pharmacist and 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.”
She added: “When kits become available, people should buy from a trusted source and check for the CE mark, which means it will have been assessed for quality and safety.”
Dr Michael Brady, the director of HIV charity, Terrence Higgins Trust, is confident the future home testing kit will form a “key strut” of the charity’s prevention work in the UK.
Terrence Higgins Trust recently ran a scheme where participants were able to test themselves for HIV at home, send the results away by post and then receive a diagnosis over the phone or via text message.
Overall the feedback showed that 97% of 915 participants would use the HIV self-sampling again, and in one weekend alone the charity received 3,000 orders.