Free at home HIV testing kits

HIV home testing kits.

HIV home testing kits.

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Free at home testing kits for HIV are being offered to those living in Herts who are deemed to be high risk.

It involves sending a sample of blood or saliva via the post for testing.

The postal kits are available from Tuesday (December 2), which coincides with World Aids Day.

In 2014, there were 1,087 people living with diagnosed HIV in the county and across the UK there are an estimated 107,800 people living with the infection - an estimated 24 per cent are unaware they have it.

Undiagnosed HIV infections post a major health risk as delays to treatment will result in a worse prognosis.

Councillor Teresa Heritage, who oversees public health, said: “In recent years the rate of new HIV diagnoses in Hertfordshire has remained significantly lower than the England average. But testing, and testing early, remains vitally important to people’s health and wellbeing.

“Helping our residents to lead longer, happier lives really matters to us, which is why we are investing in local sexual health services, including making it as easy as possible for people to get HIV tested through these kits.”

Herts County Council is also introducing other measures to promote more HIV testing. These include:

• Increasing HIV testing through GPs, pharmacies, and healthcare and community settings, particularly in areas where HIV rates and late diagnoses are highest

• Increasing opportunities to reach at risk groups in their communities

• Continuing to work alongside partners locally to increase awareness of the importance of testing

To apply to get a kit sent to your home visit www.freetesting.hiv.