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Two-thirds 'would use HIV home kit'

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HIV testing kits could be used by almost two-thirds of people if they were made legal and regulated, a survey by Terrence Higgins Trust (THT) has revealed.

The charity feels the government should legalise and regulate home HIV testing in order to reduce the number of undiagnosed HIV cases in Britain.

At present, the sale of HIV home tests is illegal in the UK, and while they can be bought over the internet, THT revealed they are unregulated and often of poor quality. Furthermore, they do not advise users where they can get additional support.

Of 490 HIV-negative people questioned, 63% revealed they would consider using the kits if they were no longer illegal, while just over half (51%) would take a test more often if they were made legal.

Nearly two-thirds (60%) of homosexual men - one of the groups considered to be more at risk of contracting HIV - revealed that legalising the kits would make them take the tests more frequently.

A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “We are considering our current policy on HIV home testing and whether we need to repeal the current regulations.

“HIV testing is widely available from open-access NHS sexual health clinics. Our advice is clear - if you think you might be at risk from HIV, contact your local sexual health service or your GP for a test.”

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Readers' comments (2)

  • 'Some would use the kit more often if it were made legal'.

    Am I missing something here? How about using condoms instead, and minimising the risk of catching it in the first place.

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  • I think the use or non use of condoms in the control of HIV is far more complex than people may think and this should be taken into account (via the huge amount of research that is out there on the subject).
    I can see that a home HIV test kit may be of use to some people who want to have control over their health in a private setting. Are we continuing to stigmatise HIV by not accepting it as a chronic illness? People can self test for other things, e.g. diabetes and chlamydia.
    The downside would be that there is no public health data and clinical and public health input if these people are positive and ignore their status thus neglecting their health and that of of any contacts or children they may have.

    B

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