‘We tested ourselves for HIV… and you can do the same’
Two thousand people are being offered the chance to find out their HIV status in their own homes, at no cost, thanks to a giveaway by Terrence Higgins Trust.
To show how quick and easy it is to test yourself for HIV, seven volunteers have today posted live videos of themselves on social media using a bioLytical INSTI HIV self test kit – the world’s fastest HIV test.
One in seven people with HIV are unaware that they are living with the virus. The seven volunteers are hoping to tackle undiagnosed HIV and break down stigma around testing by sharing their self-testing stories.
Amongst those sharing their self-test video on social media today was
- Ade, who said: “Some people are scared of taking the test simply because they don’t want to know the outcome. I really wanted to get involved just to show how easy it is and that there’s nothing to be fearful of. Testing for HIV should just be routine and it puts your mind at rest. And if you do get a positive result, there is fantastic medication available.”
- Imraan, who said: “A lot of sexual health clinics are only open during working hours in the week, and weekends are always super busy. The option to have an HIV testing kit delivered to me and producing a result almost immediately is infinitely more convenient for me. I think the self-test giveaway is a great idea, and so I wanted to share my video to show people that there’s now a really straightforward way to find out your HIV status.”
Like a home pregnancy test, you carry out the test yourself at home, and see your result in 60 seconds. Unlike postal testing, you do not need to post your sample away – you will find out your HIV status privately, in your own space, in your own time, on your terms.
The kits are being given away on a first-come, first-serve basis to people from communities most affected by HIV – gay and bisexual men, and black African men and women.
The tests, which are normally £29.95 to buy from bioLytical, will be free of charge during the pilot and funded by Terrence Higgins Trust. People receiving a test can choose to make a voluntary donation to fund a test for someone else.
Dr Michael Brady, Medical Director at Terrence Higgins Trust, said: ‘Today, seven individuals have led the way by showing just how quick and easy it is to test yourself for HIV at home. We’re really excited to give two thousand more people the opportunity to take the world’s fastest HIV test in their own homes. We hope these videos will inspire many others to order a free INSTI self-test while they’re available, particularly people who might not have time to go into a clinic or who do not want to wait weeks for a result.’
Dr Brady added: ‘One in seven people with HIV do not know they have it. It’s never a good idea to be unsure of your HIV status. Testing puts you in control and if you do get a positive result, treatment today means you can live a long and healthy life, and will stop you from passing the virus onto others.’ 
Livleen Veslemes, bioLytical’s Chief Operating Officer, says: ‘For the past 35 years Terrence Higgins Trust has challenged stigma around HIV and provided invaluable support for those who are living with the virus. The evolution of HIV testing has also come a long way during this time, and many people aren’t aware of how simple it is to test yourself at home. By working together, we want to empower people to find out their HIV status.
‘We hope the power of seeing seven people testing on social media will break down barriers and encourage people to be HIV aware. The message is clear; test yourself regularly for peace of mind, and then utilise the support available if a positive HIV result is found.’
Prince Harry famously got tested for HIV live on social media last summer.
For people who test positive, there is an information card in the test kit offering guidance on what happens next. People who receive a positive test result will be encouraged to contact a local sexual health clinic or call THT Direct, the charity’s free confidential helpline, on 0808 802 1221.
To order a free self-test kit, go to www.tht.org.uk/testyourself. Watch the seven self-test videos by searching #testyourself.
Issued by Beattie Communications on behalf of bioLytical Laboratories Inc.
Lucy Hollister, Lucy.Hollister@onlybeattie.com, +44 (0) 207 053 6007
 The seven individuals who shared self-test videos include:
- Nick Perry
- Justin Harbottle
- Imraan Sathar
- Ade Olajide
- Munya Sajanga
- Sam Huwa
 Positive results will need to be confirmed by a health professional