An HIV self-testing kit is on sale for the first time in the UK.
The 99.7 per cent accurate BioSure HIV Self Test enables people to test themselves when and where they like.
An estimated 26,000 people in the UK have HIV but are unaware of it and may be transmitting the disease to others.
Treatments available mean HIV is now a manageable disease - but late diagnosis can have a devastating impact on health and life expectancy.
The National AIDS Trust warns that 40 per cent of those living with HIV remain undiagnosed for at least four years, with those diagnosed late 11 times more likely to die in the first year after diagnosis.
The testing kit, on sale online, uses a small amount of blood from a finger-prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies, giving a result in just 15 minutes.
BioSure founder Brigette Bard said it is a significant step towards normalising HIV testing, adding: 'Knowing your HIV status is critical and the launch of this product will empower people to discreetly test themselves when it is convenient to them and in a place where they feel comfortable.'
Positive test results need to be confirmed by a healthcare professional and those in high-risk groups are recommended to be tested every three months.
The only alternative currently available is 'home sampling', which involves collecting a blood sample 160 times larger than that for the self-test and posting it to a laboratory, with results given five days later.
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