Northern Ireland

Legal move means self-testing HIV kits now available in Northern Ireland

A legal move has allowed the purchasing of self-testing HIV kits in Northern Ireland from Friday.

Positive Life, a charity providing support to people with HIV, has welcomed the change in legislation.

It said 94 new cases of HIV were diagnosed in NI in 2014.

Its chief executive, Jacquie Richardson, said a "major issue or trend" in Northern Ireland was "late diagnosis".

However, she said testing at home could result in "unexpected emotional stress".

"We would encourage those who test reactive for HIV to ensure they seek both medical and emotional support as soon as possible," she said.

"There is also the unknown risk of a possible false result and a lack of understanding that there is a window period where infection is present but may not be detected by the test.

"If either of these outcomes occur, someone may be falsely reassured that they are not affected by HIV."

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