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First UK DIY test for HIV goes on sale

Results available in 15 minutes; for use 3 months after suspected infection

Caroline White

Monday, 27 April 2015

The UK’s first legal DIY home test for HIV is available to buy online from today in England, Scotland, and Wales for just under £30.00.

The BioSure HIV Self Test is a single use disposable device that requires only a tiny drop of blood and produces a result in 15 minutes, say the manufacturers.

It is the only legally approved, CE marked device available for HIV testing at home, and is over 99% accurate from 3 months after suspected exposure to HIV infection.

Two lines on the device signal a positive test result, which must be confirmed by a healthcare professional, advise the manufacturers.

The test won’t reliably pick up HIV infections that have occurred within the previous three months, they warn, and emphasise that it isn’t suitable for anyone being treated with highly active antiretroviral treatment (HAART).

They advise storage at room temperature, but not above 30 degrees C or in direct sunlight or above a radiator, as this will affect test performance.

BioSURE HIV Self Test will only work with a sample of whole human blood, and hands must be clean and dry before starting the test, say the manufacturers, who add that results become invalid an hour after carrying out the test.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test components can be packed back into the box and placed into the opaque disposal bag included with the kit. The bag can then be sealed to help protect privacy and thrown away in normal rubbish.

England, Scotland and Wales adopted legislation last April to enable home test HIV kits to be made available even before one had been approved. Northern Ireland is now considering doing the same.

Around one in four people infected with HIV is unaware that they are positive, say HIV charities, who have welcomed the development in the hopes that it will encourage more people to get tested, and earlier on in the course of their infection.

The National AIDS Trust (NAT) has issued a guide for using DIY HIV tests. The charity’s chief executive Deborah Gold, commented: “We currently have a long way to go when it comes to diagnosing people with HIV on time. Over 40% of people living with HIV are diagnosed late, meaning they have been living with HIV for at least four years.

“People diagnosed late are 11-times more likely to die in the first year after diagnosis. To address this public health challenge, we need to look at new ways for people to test and self-testing is an important and welcome additional option.”

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