Home testing of HIV has been in the news this week, Public Health minister Anna Soubry has spoke about changes in the law to allow for home testing.
“I hope that by removing the ban on self-testing kits people will be able to choose the right time and right surroundings to take a test and, if positive, help them get the best treatment available.” – Anna Soubry
It is good that options for HIV testing will expand. There are currently many clinical places for testing, GU and sexual health clinics, GPs and a few community based settings where the testing is delivered in a non-clinical approach.
One thing we have learnt as community HIV testers – is that most people want and need to be engaged in their test and the result – which is why home testing will be popular – it is empowering people with responsibility for their HIV status.
We have also learnt that many people need support with their result – positive or negative – to know how to move on with that HIV status. If my test result is positive I need to know what to do next and who can help me to take these steps. So pharmacies and other outlets for the tests must provide details and links for support organisations alongside the test kits.
For the test to be of value the negative result must be treated as being as important as a positive result. If I am negative I should know how to stay negative – that is my responsibility. This information must be available with the kit – and in the languages that people who buy the test kits can access.
LASS will be offering short sessions about Home HIV testing in October, November and December – including during National Testing Week which is the last week of November 2013. – Stay tuned to this blog for more updates.
Let us know if you are interested in finding out more – so that you are prepared for the time when we can buy an HIV test kit at the local pharmacy and test at home.
If you would like further information, please contact Celia Fisher at LASS for more information.