HIV self-testing kits sold on British high streets for the first time

HIV self-testing kits are available in stores for the first time ever.

Superdrug has started stocking the BioSURE HIV Self Testing Kit in the 200 of its high-street shops which have an in-store pharmacy.

The kit, which is also available on Superdrug’s website for £33.95, can be obtained for free until November free for men who have sex with men, transgender women and black African people if you order it from the Terrence Higgins Trust (THT), as part of a publicly funded programme.

It is hoped the test will increase the number of early diagnoses (BioSURE)

The self-testing kits give a result in 15 minutes or less, using just a small blood sample from a finger prick.

In 2016, 42 percent of HIV diagnoses happened at a late stage of infection, a figure which will hopefully reduce as access to tests becomes easier.

BioSure CEO Brigette Bard told PinkNews: “It’s time to change the conversation, take control, and end this epidemic!

“We are passionate about allowing people to make informed choices and assume responsibility for their own healthcare. Knowing your status is the necessary first step.

Amber Rudd took the HIV self-test in November (THT)

“Around 37 million people worldwide live with HIV or AIDS and there are an estimated 1.8 million new cases every year. However, it is an entirely manageable condition with normal life expectancy.

“Once HIV is virally suppressed (undetectable) you can’t even pass the virus on – meaning together with education and innovation we can end this epidemic!”

Michael Henry, Superdrug’s healthcare director, said: “We are delighted to be the first high street retailer to add BioSURE HIV Self Test to our in-store portfolio and to give our customers more accessibility when it comes to self-testing – it’s absolutely crucial that people know their status.

THT’s Liam Beattie took the test live on PinkNews’ Facebook

“Superdrug constantly listens to its customers and reviews its healthcare offerings; we pride ourselves in continuing to lead the way when it comes to healthcare on the high street.”

During a PinkNews Facebook live in May in which he used one of the kits, THT’s Liam Beattie gave assurances to people who may be scared about finding out they’re HIV-positive.

“If the result does come back as positive, I appreciate that for a lot of people that is a massive change in their lives, but do go to a clinic,” he said.

British Prince Harry (L) and sir Elton John attend a session about the Elton John Aids Fund on the second day of the Aids2018 conference, in Amsterdam on July 24, 2018. - From 23 to July 27, thousands of delegates -- researchers, campaigners, activists and people living with the killer virus -- attend the 22nd International AIDS Conference amid warnings that "dangerous complacency" may cause an unstoppable resurgence. (Photo by Robin Utrecht / ANP / AFP) / Netherlands OUT (Photo credit should read ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty Images)

Last month, Sir Elton John and Prince Harry launched a conglomeration to fight HIV (ROBIN UTRECHT/AFP/Getty)

“It’s not something to be panicking about, we have much better treatment options available now.

“People who are living with HIV – some studies have suggested – will actually have a longer life span because they’re interacting more regularly with health services.”

He added: “We need to educate ourselves and know about the reality of the virus.

The test uses just a small blood sample from a finger prick (BioSURE)

“It’s really easy to get tested and even if the result comes back negative, that shouldn’t be the end – you should be accessing testing regularly.

“Only that way can we get to zero infections, which would be absolutely fantastic.”

When Prince Harry used one of the kits in 2016, THT reported that it led to a 500 percent boost in the number of kits ordered in the days afterwards.