Residents of Hertfordshire can now order a free kit that enables them to take an HIV test in the comfort of their own home.
The kits are available for free to those at higher risk of HIV infection in Hertfordshire from 1 December 2015, World Aids Day.
HIV in Hertfordshire
In 2014, there were 1,087 people living with diagnosed HIV in Hertfordshire or in 2014. This is 1.58 per 1,000 residents aged 15-59. This is lower than the 2.2 per 1,000 in England as a whole. In the UK there are an estimated 107,800 people living with HIV of whom an estimated 26,100 (24 per cent) are unaware of their infection. Undiagnosed HIV infections pose a major health risk to the individual living with HIV as delays in treatment will mean a worse prognosis.
Making HIV Testing more easily available
Hertfordshire County Council has invested in a nationwide HIV home sampling service to help reduce the number of people diagnosed late with the virus. The service allows people to order a free self-sampling kit from a secure website, mailed to an address of their choice, and then return a self-taken sample (either blood or saliva) for testing.
Alongside the introduction of this home sampling service across the county, Hertfordshire County Council is putting in place a range of 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
Sexual Health and HIV Testing in Hertfordshire
If you want to find out more about the sexual health services available in Hertfordshire, including where you can have an HIV test, go to www.hertsdirect.org/sexualhealth or call Sexual Health Hertfordshire on 0300 008 5522.