UK & World News
HIV Home-Testing Kits: Law Change Proposed
People concerned they might have HIV will soon be able to find out whether or not they are infected in the comfort of their own homes, officials are to announce.
Under the HIV Testing Kits and Services Regulations 1992, it is currently illegal to sell kits which offer on-the-spot HIV results in the UK.
But officials plan to change the law so people can perform a saliva test at home to quickly give a result.
A record number of people in the UK are living with HIV, according to the Health Protection Agency.
The number of people with the virus in November 2012 was nearly 100,000.
But a quarter of people who have the human immunodeficiency virus are not aware they have been infected.
Health experts hope the law change will reduce infection rates.
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry said: "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."
Lisa Power, policy director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: "People deserve to have a choice about how and where they test for HIV and proper regulation will make self testing a safe and supported option for many more people across the country.
"Currently, most HIV transmission in the UK is driven by the 25,000 people who have HIV but have not yet been diagnosed.
"Anything that encourages these people to test, take control of their health and get treatment is a welcome advance."
Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National AIDS Trust, said: "We know that some people are already buying poor quality self-testing kits online from overseas which is why we have campaigned for a change in the law."