August 12, 2013
Public Health Minister Anna Soubry announced plans to revoke the United Kingdom's 1992 HIV Testing Kits and Services Regulations and legalize the sale of HIV home-testing kits that provided rapid test results. The new regulation would allow UK residents to purchase HIV home-testing kits that provide on-the-spot HIV test results based on a saliva sample.
According to the Health Protection Agency, 25 percent of the approximately 100,000 UK residents who had HIV in November 2012 did not know they were infected with the virus. Soubry hoped removing the ban on HIV self-testing kits would encourage people to take a test and seek treatment if they were HIV-positive.
National AIDS Trust Chief Executive Officer Deborah Jack and Terrence Higgins Trust Policy Director Lisa Power both praised the regulation change. Power noted that UK regulation of HIV home-testing would make self-testing a "safe and supported option" and give people a choice about HIV testing. Jack stated that her organization campaigned for the change to stop people from ordering low-quality self-testing kits from sources outside the United Kingdom.
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