Terrence Higgins Trust launches free HIV self testing

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Terrence Higgins Trust, Britain’s leading HIV and sexual health organisation, has launched a programme that will enable men who have sex with men (MSM), trans women and black African people to order free HIV self testing kits.

  • Terrence Higgins Trust’s self testing programme will distribute free HIV self testing kits to gay and bi men, trans women and black African people.
  • The programme, supported by the late actor Alec McCowen CBE, is currently funded for up to six months and will distribute the largest amount of self test kits available so far.
  • 10,400 people in the UK are living with HIV and don’t know it.

The service will provide free HIV self tests provided by BioSure, that people can do in the privacy of their own home (or wherever they feel most comfortable), receiving results in minutes. People who order one of the kits will also have access to support from THT Direct, the charity’s information and advice line, who are there to provide information and support whatever the result.

Thanks to funding from Public Health England’s HIV Innovation Fund, there will be an additional ‘click and collect’ option available for UK-based black Africans, to increase the uptake of testing among this group.

The development and launch of the service has been made possible, for up to a period of six months, by a legacy left by the late actor Alec McCowen CBE.

However, the charity is seeking charitable donations from supporters with the aim of being able to extend it for longer.

The aim of the programme is to test the effectiveness of self testing as a method to reduce barriers to HIV testing among groups that are most at risk of contracting HIV.

Ian Green, CEO, Terrence Higgins Trust said: ‘One of our strategic aims as a charity is to end HIV transmission in the UK, and increasing testing among at risk communities is an effective way to achieve this.

‘We know that different methods of testing suit different people, and so we’re thrilled to launch this programme for those who prefer to use self testing kits at home but who perhaps can’t afford it.

‘The programme, which is currently funded for up to six months, will enable more people from at risk communities to know their status and access early, effective treatment if required.

‘This will ensure that less people are living undiagnosed with HIV, and that they can live long, healthy lives, with no risk of passing the virus on to future partners.’

There are an estimated 10,400 people in the UK who do not know that they’re living with HIV, which means that they are not on effective medication and could unknowingly be passing the virus on.

Regular HIV testing enables people who have a reactive (positive) result to access effective treatment earlier, which increases their ability to live a long and healthy life, and prevents them from transmitting HIV on to current or future sexual partners.

Find out how to support the programme or, if eligible, order a free self testing kit at test.tht.org.uk

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