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London: Free home HIV testing launched for gay and bisexual men

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  1. Link isn’t working.

        1. The headline to this article is a bit mis-leading. These kits are correctly termed as “home screening” or “home sampling” kits and they are different to the kits featured in the BBC News article.

          I believe this is the second NHS based trial of its kind to take place in London, the first was a collaboration with Gaydar & 56 Dean Street (Chelsea & Westminster NHS Foundation Trust). I believe the collaboration here is with GMFA & Homerton Hospital.

          The kits are supplied by Dr Thom & are approved for home screening by the DoH.

          1. factsandfigures 27 Nov 2012, 7:24am

            The Department of Health HIV Testing Kits and Services 1992 Regulations should be amended to permit and regulate self-testing kits which would allow the Government to ensure proper quality control and management of self-testing in the UK.

            http://www.nat.org.uk/media/Files/Publications/Sep-2008-Home-Testing-for-HIV.pdf

  2. Benjamin Cohen 26 Nov 2012, 4:28pm

    fixed!

  3. Hackney John 26 Nov 2012, 4:46pm

    Great idea. Makes getting a test a lot easier.

  4. So what about Heterosexual people too, HIV isn’t carried by ” bisexual and gay men only ” it’s carried and passed to every sexuality and gender FFS

    1. Testing Times 26 Nov 2012, 6:56pm

      I agree – most the population missed again with the testing! How can HIV become “normalised” unless everyone is given the chance to test?? There are str8 people who acquire HIV – see the article concerning Brighton which was recently published on here.

    2. Spanner1960 26 Nov 2012, 7:59pm

      The current statistic is that gay men are 111 times more likely to contract the disease than straight people. I would say that was a good enough reason to target our demographic, don’t you?

    3. gingerfuzzball 28 Nov 2012, 12:37pm

      I agree it would be great if the test were open to everyone, but as GMFA is contributing to the cost then I can understand why it is restricted. GMFA supporters donate to it so that it can promote gay and bi men’s sexual health, so I can see why they need to be able to demonstrate that that’s what they’re actually spending the money on. I imagine that if it goes well, and there is a good take-up of the scheme then it will help health campaigners to put more pressure on the NHS to make this a freely-available scheme to all.

  5. It’s true that anyone can get HIV, but gay and bisexual men are more likely to get HIV. That’s why we’re asked to get a test every year. I like this idea of doing it online. Hope the trial is successful.

  6. Done it, and am very scared it will be positive. I’ve been putting it off for so long now, stupidly. I noticed that it said there is about a 2% chance of contracting HIV if you suck someone without a condom. That statistic scared me, and seemed different from others I had read. Can anyone corroborate this statistic?

    1. Spanner1960 26 Nov 2012, 7:57pm

      Firstly, what you did was both very brave and very sensible. You should be commend for it. Don’t worry, the chances of oral transmission is virtually zero unless you allow someone to ejaculate in your mouth and you have a problem such as bleeding gums where the virus can enter the bloodstream.
      Even then, it is pretty unlikely (although not impossible) because saliva is both acidic and contain enzymes that will kill the virus stone dead as soon as it comes in contact with it.

      You have little to fear, just bear it in mind next time and I hope it all works out fine for you. x

    2. Luke – if it does come back positive you will be able to access the help & care you need. People who are promptly diagnosed can expect to live very well & don’t forget the “positive diagnosis” may not be for life – I am very confident that in the next 15 years we will see a functional cure for HIV.

      Out of interest why did you choose the at home sampling method over going for either a test in a community setting or a traditional GUM clinic? I hope your test comes back negative, but if you are concerned why not go along to your local clinic anyways for some additional support.

      1. Thank you for the supportive comments. I chose it because it seemed quick and easy (I arranged it within 5 minutes) and I was always putting off going to the clinic or going near to it and then getting too scared to go. I’m 24 and I hope that I will continue to have the test once a year in the future, but it does worry me that this is my first HIV test. Better later than never!

        1. Well done fella – there are so many individuals like yourself, and I think this sort of test has a role to play in expanding access to regular testing.

          No one wants a positive result, but it really is better to know your status, so well done for sharing your experience.

    3. Matthew of GMFA 27 Nov 2012, 1:33pm

      The 2% figure relates to the proportion of HIV cases where it is believed HIV was transmitted via oral sex. It’s not that there’s a 2% risk from an act of oral sex. As other commentators have said, the risk from oral sex is relatively low, especially if cum doesn’t get in the mouth and if there is no oral damage. 2% is a pretty low proportion, considering that oral sex is much more frequent than anal sex (which accounts for most sexual transmission of HIV amongst gay men).
      I really hope that you get a negative result. In any case, you have done the right thing to find out, as if you do have HIV, you will be able to access treatment that will help you. Wishing you all the best.

    4. gingerfuzzball 28 Nov 2012, 12:49pm

      Good luck, Luke, I hope you get a negative result. I think it’s great that you have managed to get the courage together to do the test, and hopefully you will find it a relief to know for sure what your status is. As others have said, even if it comes back positive there is some fantastic support available out there. Fingers crossed that it doesn’t come to that though.

  7. Spanner1960 26 Nov 2012, 7:52pm

    A great step forward, but as usual, why is all this so metrocentric? I appreciate that there is a higher percentage of gay men in London, but there are others that live outside it, and as this is a postal operation, why can it not be countrywide?

  8. Get those condoms on every-one. Its only a matter of time before the HIV virus out-grows what humans throw at it.

    1. Does that include condoms for oral sex I wonder or being more aware about the risks associated with oral sex, especially for the person giving the oral sex.

      1. Spanner1960 27 Nov 2012, 2:15am

        It’s always a consideration.
        I have know somebody that contracted it that way.
        I think the bottom line is, people have to realise that any sexual contact bears a certain calculated risk. It is safer sex, not safe.

        Choose your partners wisely, always take precautions, and basically stick with them.

  9. factsandfigures 26 Nov 2012, 11:50pm

    Those nice in idea until the UK changes the Law on HIV Home Testing both GMFA and the NHS will be breaking the Law, I refer to http://www.nat.org.uk/media/Files/Publications/Sep-2008-Home-Testing-for-HIV.pdf and http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2012/07/06/new-call-for-hiv-at-home-testing-kits-in-the-uk/

    1. These are home sampling kits rather than home testing kits, a subtle but important difference! The test result in this case is not provided by the kit, it as to be sent to the lab and a positive result is given by a trained healthcare proffessional via telephone.

      1. factsandfigures 27 Nov 2012, 7:54am

        @W6 According to the HPA (The latest data show new STI diagnoses rose by two per cent from 2010 to 2011 (from 419,773 to 426,867) http://www.hpa.org.uk/stiannualdatatables#1._STI_Report , Would this not further add and suggest that the best place for testing is within the NHS/or approved settings? Why not then incorporate HIV testing as standard by using the rapid pin prick option via its sexual health programmes?

        Also has anyone asked what % of funding is going to Dr. Tom and from what budgets? Are these kits being provided Free of Charge to the NHS? If charged will they cost of £34? Compared to a NHS cost of £?

        1. I would agree that it makes sense to get a complete & thorough MOT in a more traditional testing setting, but as has been demonstrated here home testing can provide a valuable alternative to those who perhaps are not confident going to a GU clinic, or those who are very concerned about confidentiality.

          I think the greater the range of options the better if we are to halve the undiagnosed HIV fraction in the UK.

          All tests have a cost associated with them, but accept this could be a little more expensive, but it is only a trial as I understand it. There would be cost benefits if the test was found to be suitable for use on a wider scale.

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