A new law legalizing sale of self-testing kits for HIV came into force in United Kingdom (UK) on 6 April 2014. The new law allows individuals to buy the self-testing kits available on shops and self-diagnose for HIV at home itself. The new law was approved by the UK Government in September 2013.
Testing could involve taking a small drop of blood from a finger, or a swab from the inside of the mouth which can be easily read by people with no medical knowledge or training.
The law will ensure that more people, who are HIV positive, are diagnosed and that they are diagnosed early. This is important because about 25 per cent of HIV positive people in the UK do not know they are HIV positive and these are the people most likely to pass on the infection.
The tests could be introduced into the UK this year or in early 2015. Although the UK is leading Europe in making the kits available over the counter but no tests have yet been developed that pass European guidelines. These self-testing kits were introduced in the US in 2012.
Currently, people can take HIV tests at home but they have to send a saliva, or blood, sample to a lab which will give them their results after the sample has been analysed.
Where: United Kingdom
What: Came into force
When: 6 April 2014