HIV self-testing kits to become available on high street with Superdrug leading initiative

The BioSURE HIV Self Test is now available to buy in Superdrug pharmacies (BioSURE/PA)

HIV self-testing kits are to be available to buy on the high street for the first time, it has been announced.

Superdrug will become the first retailer to offer the kit across its 200 stores for £33.99.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test was previously available to buy online.

The kit became the first legally approved self-testing kit in 2015, with a 99.7% accuracy rate.

It uses a small amount of blood from a finger prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies and offers a result in just 15 minutes.

Superdrug said that making the kit more widely available will help reduce a person's waiting time between taking the test and their result.

It could also help increase early diagnosis rates, it added.

Due to developments in treatments available, HIV can now be a manageable disease but late diagnosis can have a devastating impact on health and life expectancy.

Dr Pixie McKenna, a 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."

Michael Henry, healthcare director at Superdrug, added: "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's absolutely crucial that people know their status.

"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."

Prince Harry is a vocal proponent of HIV testing. Credit: PA

In May, the Terrence Higgins Trust launched a programme to enable high-risk groups – men who have sex with men, trans women and black African people – to order free HIV self-testing kits.

The six-month project, supported by Public Health England’s Innovation Fund, means at-risk groups can log on to the charity’s website, enter their details and choose any delivery address or opt to click and collect to receive a self-test kit.

The charity has estimated that there are 10,400 people in the UK who do not know that they are living with HIV.

This means they are not on effective medication and could unknowingly be passing the virus on.