HIV self-test kits, which give results in 15 minutes, could cause emotional distress according to a Bournemouth charity.
According to Richard Erven, manager of HIV charity Body Positive Dorset, it is preferable for people to go to a clinic to be tested properly.
“The home testing kits are about 95% accurate. The danger is someone with a home testing kit gets a positive result, which actually turns out to be negative and then they can go through all kinds of emotional trauma. It could be very disturbing. So, they definitely have a place, but as I say testing in hospital is the best thing to do,” says Mr Erven.
Bournemouth has one of the highest prevalence rates of HIV in the UK outside London, according to Mr Erven.
The ‘do it yourself’ test allows people to check themselves for HIV without needing to send the results to a lab to get the exact diagnosis.
“At the moment the most at risk are people aged 16-24 and surprisingly it is the heterosexual community. 68% of the people diagnosed last year were heterosexual,” says Mr Erven.
The way the self-test works is very much similar to pregnancy tests available on the market. A company called Bio Sure UK has made the test and it works by discovering antibodies on a small drop of blood. To make it more accessible for everybody, the product can be ordered online.