New free self-sampling HIV home testing service launched in England
Simon Collins, HIV i-Base
A new self-sampling HIV test service has been launched in the UK, supported by Public Health England (PHE).
This is a nationally commissioned service to provide free test kits to higher risk individuals in England from 1st December 2015 – 1st January 2016. The service is run by a private company (Preventx) working with the community organisation (Yorkshire MESMAC), who were jointly awarded the tender.
The test requires 600 mL of self-sampled blood (“milked” after a finger prick) that is then posted laboratory.
Laboratory testing uses the 4th generation Roche antigen/antibody Elecsys Combi PT test, with 100% sensitivity (for true negative results) and 99.74% specificity (with a small chance of false positive results).
All positive tests require a confirmatory clinic-based test.
45,000 tests have been commissioned, spread across local authorities that have bought into the service. However, more than 10,000 tests had already been ordered during HIV Testing Week from 21 November 2015.  If the test limit is reached for one region, further commissioning will be needed to continue the service.
- National HIV Testing Week. 21-27 November 2015.