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France begins selling HIV self-testing kits that give you a result in 15 minutes

Nick Duffy September 17, 2015
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HIV self-testing kits are available in France for the first time, that allow you to get a result yourself in just 15 minutes.

Pharmacies across the country began selling the first approved self-testing kits this week, following the launch of similar products in the UK earlier this year.

The kits allow you to collect your own blood sample, carry out an HIV test at home, and obtain the result yourself – without needing to visit a treatment centre or send off samples for lab testing.

Pharmaceutical company AAZ-LMB is selling the kits in France, which is only the third country to permit self-testing for HIV, following the US and the UK.

In the UK, the law was altered to change a restriction that made it illegal to carry out such tests on yourself.

PinkNews tried out one of the UK tests that are available.

The kits include a small lancet to collect a droplet of blood, as well as a testing tube and a chemical solution.

All that is required is a small prick to the finger, to allow a tiny amount of blood to be gathered.

The user then activates the test, and waits for just over fifteen minutes – before a line clearly indicates whether the tester is HIV positive or negative, just like a pregnancy test.

However, results are not infallible – as with all HIV tests, it can only reliably detect the virus from three months after it is contracted.

The test directs users who are identified as HIV positive to seek immediate professional advice, warning: “You must have a positive result confirmed by a healthcare professional.”

Dr Christian Chidiac, who runs the department of infectious and tropical diseases at the Croix-Rousse hospital in Lyon, welcomed the new tests, but told Vice there are concerns people may find out they are positive but fail to seek help.

Deborah Gold, of the UK’s National AIDS Trust said previously: “We currently have a long way to go when it comes to diagnosing people with HIV on time.

“Over 40% of people living with HIV are diagnosed late, meaning they have been living with HIV for at least four years.

“People diagnosed late are 11-times more likely to die in the first year after diagnosis. To address this public health challenge we need to look at new ways for people to test and self-testing is an important and welcome additional option.”

(Photos by PinkNews. Note the kit was a UK model, and not that sold in France by AAZ-LMB.)

Related topics: Bisexual men, Europe, France, gay and bisexual men, gay men, HIV, hiv infection, hiv testing, hiv transmission, HIV-prevention, men who have sex with men, MSM, national aids trust, Public Health England, Terrence Higgins Trust

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