Superdrug stores are to sell an HIV testing kit, allowing customers to self-test at home using a finger-prick blood sample and see a result in 15 minutes.
Michael Henry, healthcare director at Superdrug said: “We are delighted to be the first high street retailer to add BioSURE HIV Self Test to our in store portfolio and to give our customers more accessibility when it comes to self testing.”
It is “absolutely crucial” that people know their HIV status, suggested Mr Henry, and pharmacy teams are on hand to discuss any concerns that customers may have around HIV. “We do understand this can be a difficult time, our nursing and pharmacist staff are always on hand to discuss any questions or concerns consumers may have around HIV.”
The public has been warned in the past of buying unlicensed HIV testing kits from the internet, risking unreliable or false results.
HIV Prevention England has recently launched an engagement strategy aimed at health professionals to help increase HIV prevention and testing by GPs and other primary care providers, and to reduce the late diagnosis of HIV.
In the UK, 42 per cent of people diagnosed with HIV in the UK in 2016 were diagnosed late and a late diagnosis leads to a ten-fold increase in mortality, said the organisation.
BioSURE is available at Superdrug for £33.99.
Dr Pixie McKenna, GP and Superdrug’s Health expert, said “Superdrug’s move to encourage and empower patients to self test for HIV is one further step forward in our fight against this disease. While there is no cure, early diagnosis is key in terms of management. Patients successfully managed on HIV treatments have normal life expectancy, but to know you need treatment you need to know your diagnosis.”