HIV self-testing kits hit the High Street

09 August 2018 08:15

Superdrug now offers HIV self-testing kits across its 200 pharmacy stores

Superdrug now offers HIV self-testing kits across its 200 pharmacy stores

HIV testing has become even more accessible after a self-testing kit was made available from a High Street retailer.

Superdrug now offers HIV self-testing kits across its 200 pharmacy stores, the first time such kits have been made available by a major retailer.

The kit, which retails for £33.99, became the first legally approved self-testing kit back in 2015, and has a 99.7% accuracy rate.

Campaigners welcomed the news as a step forward in helping fight the disease.

Widely available

The kit uses a small amount of blood from a finger prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies and offers a result in just 15 minutes.

Superdrug said that making the kit more widely available will help reduce a person's waiting time between taking the test and getting a result.

It could also help increase early diagnosis rates, it added.

Due to developments in treatments available, HIV can now be a manageable disease but late diagnosis can have a devastating impact on health and life expectancy.

Dr Pixie McKenna, a GP and Superdrug's health expert, said: "Superdrug's move to encourage and empower patients to self-test for HIV is one further step forward in our fight against this disease.

"While there is no cure, early diagnosis is key in terms of management.

"Patients successfully managed on HIV treatments have normal life expectancy, but to know you need treatment you need to know your diagnosis."

At-risk groups

In May, the Terrence Higgins Trust launched a programme to enable high-risk groups - men who have sex with men, trans women and black African people - to order free HIV self-testing kits.

The six-month project, supported by Public Health England's Innovation Fund, means at-risk groups can log on to the charity's website, enter their details and choose any delivery address or opt to click and collect to receive a self-test kit.

The charity has estimated that there are 10,400 people in the UK who do not know that they are living with HIV.

This means they are not on effective medication and could unknowingly be passing the virus on.

HIV is a virus which attacks the immune system and weakens the body's ability to fight diseases.

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