FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: April 29th 2015

POSITIVE WOMEN INC. URGES CAUTION WITH HIV SELF-TESTING KITS 

As the news of the first legally approved HIV self-testing kits going on sale in the U.K. is being broadcast in New Zealand, Jane Bruning, National Coordinator of Positive Women Inc., the national support organisation for women and families living with HIV and AIDS, wants the public to be aware of the problems of using these kits.

The self-test kit uses a small amount of blood from a finger pin-prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies, and offers a result in just 15 minutes. People in New Zealand can currently order them online and have them delivered to their homes with their privacy protected.

Supporting comments made by Shaun Robinson of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation on this morning’s TV1 Breakfast show Positive Women Inc. has concerns that the HIV self-testing kits are, while improving, not always accurate nor are they properly regulated in NZ. Also, testing at home means a person is without professional support and healthcare advice, and they may do the testing incorrectly. There is also the possibility they not seek medical assistance and gain access to the lifesaving medications which are available.

“We acknowledge there are many reasons why people may want to conduct HIV testing in the privacy of their own homes – fear of stigma and shame being top amongst those reasons”, says Jane Bruning, “However we urge people to visit the many safe and supportive environments that are available for HIV rapid tests like the NZAF, Body Positive and Sexual Health Clinics”

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NOTES TO JOURNALISTS

Positive Women Inc. is an organisation providing support to women and families living with HIV and also aims to raise awareness of HIV and AIDS in the community through educational programmes with a focus on prevention and de-stigmatisation.

Links www.positivewomen.org.nz
  www.nzaf.org.nz/getting-tested/
  www.bodypositive.org.nz/Pages/Rapid_HIV_Testing/
  www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/hiv-and-

For further comment please contact:

Jane Bruning, National Coordinator
Positive Women Inc.
Phone: 09 623 9183; Email: Jane@positivewomen.nz;
www.positivewomen.org.nz
Mobile : 021 550 984