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HIV self-testing kits made legal in the UK

It will soon be simpler than ever to be sure of your status

HIV self-testing kits are now legal in the UK, as of Sunday 6 April. Most people often avoid visiting clinics to have the full check, but being able to do it yourself in your own home means there's no excuse not to know your status.

By the end of 2012, statistics show that 100,000 people were living with HIV in the UK. 77,610 of that amount acknowledged their infection and received medical care, but 21,000 with the infection but had not been diagnosed. In comparison to the end of 2011 where 96,000 people in the UK were living with HIV, that makes a 4% rise in just one year. Having regular tests at least every six months is the safest way to assure you’re clear of the virus.

Michael Brady of the Medical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust says, “We welcome this change in the law, which will give people another choice about how and where they test for HIV. The success of our HIV postal testing scheme has shown that many people who have never tested before, or who have been putting off a visit to the clinic, are willing to test at home. With HIV transmission in the UK largely driven by the 22,000 people who remain undiagnosed, anything that provides them with another option to test and access effective treatment is welcome.”

The kits aren’t on sale to the general public in Britain just yet, but with the law lifted, they’ll soon be on their way. The test will be available to order by post, and it's likely that the first kit will be available by late 2014 or early 2015.

If you’ve recently had unsafe sex, haven't had a check-up in a while or just want the all-clear to settle your mind, it's important to visit your local GUM clinic or GP. Visit the NHS website to find your nearest source of sexual health information and support.

Words: Darrell Larkin (@supernaturalboi)

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