As part of National HIV Testing Week, Kent residents are being reminded how they can click quickly and easily online for home testing kits.
Introduced last year, the kits are available from Kent County Council and involve a person taking a simple finger prick blood test which is then sent to a laboratory for results within five working days, Subsequent support is available with a confidential clinical service.
The prevalence of HIV infection per 1,000 among persons aged 15-59 years in Kent in 2015 was 1.24 which is lower than the national rate of 2.26. Figures show a year on year increase and late diagnosis of HIV in Kent remains high. The percentage of adults (aged 15 and above) who were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2013-15 was 52.8% – higher than the England average of 42.2%
Kent County Council Public Health Consultant, Faiza Khan said it is vital to reinforce the importance of early testing: “Levels of undiagnosed infections pose a major health risk both for the individual living with HIV, as delays in treatment initiation will result in a worse prognosis, and for the public, as treatment for the positive individual can reduce the risk of onward transmission. “Despite high levels of HIV testing in the integrated sexual health services, levels of HIV testing remain too low in most at-risk populations, and there is a need for innovative approaches to improve uptake of HIV tests. Testing is not just good for the individual, it’s good for the whole community.”
Kent County Council is encouraging those at higher risk of HIV, such as men who have sex with men, to request a home sampling kit now, via www.kent.gov.uk/HIVtest
Notes to Editors
- The HIV home-sampling kit allows individuals to take their own sample (a finger prick blood test) and return it to a laboratory for testing and results management. Everyone will receive a result within five working days. This follows a successful national pilot, supported by Public Health England. You can also order a kit at test.hiv
- One in five people living with HIV are unaware of their infection. In the general UK population around one in 665 people have HIV
- Source: http://www.hivpreventionengland.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/7083900-ISWM_Primary_HIV_infection_summer2014_campaign_briefing.pdf
For more information, go to report https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/477702/HIV_in_the_UK_2015_report.pdf