Superdrug has become the first retailer to stock HIV self-testing kits, but consumers have questioned the accessibility of the kit due to its price.
The health and beauty retailer will now sell the BioSURE HIV Self Test kit across all of its 200 UK pharmacies for £33.99.
It is able to determine whether a person is diagnosed with HIV or not within 15 minutes and with a 99.7 per cent accuracy rate.
An estimated 10,400 people in the UK are living with undiagnosed HIV.
“We are delighted to be the first high street retailer to add BioSURE HIV Self Test to our in-store portfolio and to give our customers more accessibility when it comes to self-testing – it’s absolutely crucial that people know their status,” Superdrug healthcare director Michael Henry said.
“We do understand this can be a difficult time, our nursing and pharmacist staff are always on hand to discuss any questions or concerns consumers may have around HIV.”
Although the move has been celebrated by many for making a diagnosis more widely available, some have taken issue with its price.
People have taken to social media to point out that for many the price may be inaccessible, while others pointed out that a free diagnosis is available at sexual health clinics.
I'm very happy that Superdrug have started selling HIV testing kits, but £33.99?
— James (@JamesSNW90) August 8, 2018
It *could* be argued that if the people who can easily afford it get it this way, it'll reduce waiting times for those that need to get free ones? I don't really believe that myself, it's more likely to cause a reduction in free tests I think.
— Alex Jon (@YamYamAlex) August 8, 2018
Cool that Superdrug are going to stock biosure HIV self test kits but the govt should really fund them as no doubt they’ll be costly and unattainable for many in need
— Yeah, Brackie (@ElliottLauder) August 8, 2018
Marc Thompson, health improvement lead at HIV charity Terrence Higgins Trust, said: “It’s great to see a big high street brand like Superdrug recognising the need for providing self-tests kits from BioSure, where you can test at home and get a result within just 15 minutes.
“But not everyone can afford to buy a kit, and it’s important to make clear that you can test for free at any sexual health clinic.
“We’re also offering free self-tests kits for communities most affected by HIV in the UK.”