Fife Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is pleased to announce that testing for HIV can now be carried out at home. A new free home testing kit is making testing easier and will lead to more people getting diagnosed earlier.
Self (Home)-testing is fast, safe, accurate and convenient and it provides people with another option that can help them get swift access to treatment if required. The test is quick to use, giving results within 15 minutes and support is available to anyone regardless of results.
Fife HSCP’s Sexual Health & Blood Borne Virus (SH&BBV) services has worked in partnership with HIV Scotland, Waverley Care and Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland to develop and offer this new testing kit.
Heather Bett, Fife HSCP Executive Lead for SH & BBV said: “Early diagnosis of HIV infection enables better treatment options and reduces the risk of transmitting the infection to others. Fife HSCP is committed to reducing new infections and late diagnosis of HIV. The free home testing kits are particularly effective tools during the Coronavirus pandemic. They will help people get tested and treated early if they test positive. HIV is a virus that has been with us for a long time, but it is one that is preventable though a range of methods. I would encourage anyone who thinks they may have been at risk of contracting HIV to seek advice about accessing a test from their GP or ordering a home testing kit online www.hivtest.scot and www.tht.org.uk.”
Dr Naomi Bulteel, Fife HSCP Consultant in Infectious Diseases said: “We also want to raise awareness amongst GPs and clinicians about the importance of considering an HIV test as part of routine examinations, particularly where people may show symptoms of undiagnosed HIV. The earlier someone is diagnosed the better. Advances in medicines mean that people with HIV on effective treatment can live healthy lives with zero risk of passing on the virus sexually”.
Nathan Sparling, Chief Executive, HIV Scotland said:
“Diagnosing HIV is the most important part of our mission to reach zero new HIV transmissions, so it’s important that different testing options exist, especially when the advice remains to stay at home due to the Coronavirus.
“For most people, self-testing is fast, safe, accurate and convenient – and it provides people with another option that can help people get swift access to treatment if needed. It’s important for everyone to know their HIV status so they can protect their health and that of their partners too.
“With HIV Self Test Scotland, we can play our part in the global mission to get to zero by 2030.”
The UK is one of the few countries in the world to have reached and exceeded all UNAIDS 90:90:90 targets. (90% of those infected, diagnosed, 90% of those diagnosed on treatment and 90% of those on treatment have an undetectable viral load) Of those people living with HIV in the UK in 2018, 93% were diagnosed, 97% of people diagnosed were receiving treatment and 97% of people receiving treatment were virally suppressed (undetectable viral load).