This site is intended for health professionals only

Call for home HIV testing kits

A sexual health charity is calling on the government to change the law to let people buy and use home testing kits for HIV.

The Terrence Higgins Trust claims around a third of people with HIV in the UK are currently undiagnosed, and believes opening up the market could cut this figure.

It said some people fail to test for HIV because they refuse to go to a clinic, either because of the stigma surrounding them, long waiting times, or restricted opening hours.

But having a reliable and regulated kit available in the UK will reduce both undiagnosed infections and HIV transmissions, it added.

Home tests that are currently sold on the internet are not subject to any form of quality controls in the UK, nor do they carry information about sources of support.

Reforming the HIV testing kits and services regulations will allow the government to ensure people get the right information, the group claims.

Paul Ward, deputy chief executive at the Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "Use of unreliable, unregulated kits from the internet is increasing, so we need to offer a safe alternative.

"People can test at home for pregnancy and many other sexually transmitted infections. It's time that they had the same safe choice for HIV."

Terrence Higgins Trust

Copyright © PA Business 2007

Your comments: (Terms and conditions apply)

"I absolutely think that people should be able to test themselves for HIV so long as support and care is available. Support and care doesn't have to be given face to face" - Name and address supplied