Sale of HIV tests welcomed by NHS D&G

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Self-test kits for HIV that give an instant result are legally on sale for the first time in Scotland and NHS Dumfries and Galloway has set out some key information for the public to be aware of.

The new BioSure HIV Self-test kits have been available online (www.hivselftest.co.uk) since Monday 27 April at a cost of £29.99. NHS Dumfries and Galloway has welcomed the move.

Dr Nigel Calvert, Consultant in Public Health Medicine for NHS Dumfries and Galloway said: “In Dumfries and Galloway, free HIV tests are readily available – for example through general practices and through Sexual Health Dumfries and Galloway – but these self-testing kits may be preferred by some people.

“If used properly they can be reliable but I would encourage people to look at the information we have made available on the health protection website at www.dghps.org/hiv-self-testing/ before buying one of the kits. Also, it would be a good idea for people to think about where they would get local support if the DIY test gave a positive result. The information we have put online will point people in the right direction.”

The new kits are the first that give those using them an instant result, without consulting a health worker or sending it to a lab, and have received the European safety and quality ‘CE’ mark. This follows the change in the law last year to allow the sale and distribution of instant result self-test kits.

George Valiotis, CEO of HIV Scotland said: “Self-test kits aren’t a replacement for free NHS services, but they could help more people get tested for HIV – especially those in rural areas or those who would prefer not to go to their GP or local clinic.

“Estimates suggest that as many as 25% of people living with HIV in Scotland don’t know they have the virus, so increasing testing is critical. Especially given that if people with HIV are diagnosed and get on treatment quickly, they can become un-infectious and live long, active lives.”

The new kits do not replace existing free, fast and confidential testing services, which can provide instant support and treatment, as well as testing for other infections, should you need them. Please contact your GP or Sexual Health Dumfries and Galloway for further information:

Enquiries and appointments – 0345 702 3687 (Mon to Fri, 9am - 4pm)

Helpline – 07736 955 219 (Mon to Fri, 1pm - 2pm)