Lockdown presents once in a lifetime chance to combat fatal disease
A leading Oxfordshire medical device company has launched a new HIV self-testing kit that could help thousands of undiagnosed people to access fast and potentially life-saving treatment at an earlier stage.
And with lockdown reducing the number of casual sexual encounters, which in turn is reducing the number of HIV transmissions, never has there been a better time to combat the disease and protect a generation’s future health says Oxford-based business Owen Mumford.
Shaun Watson, Nurse, Community HIV Specialist and Chair of the National HIV Nurses Association welcomes the launch for its ease-of-use: “It’s a great new HIV self-test, and probably the simplest to use that I’ve tried. We need to support people in feeling comfortable and able to test themselves for HIV and this launch is an excellent step towards that goal.”
Leanne Adam, Marketing Manager for Owen Mumford, says that while transmission rates are falling, complacency is the biggest threat: “There are still too many people who remain undiagnosed,” she says.
“The reasons behind this may be lack of awareness of the importance of regular testing, or because of an ill-conceived stigma around testing and HIV. We want to change this. Simplitude ByMe™ is a reliable rapid diagnostic test which can be bought online, is easy to operate and can be used by an individual at a time and a place that is convenient.”
The launch comes in the wake of news from the London-based sexual health clinic, Dean Street, that suggests HIV transmissions have plummeted in London as the Nation has stayed indoors. It believes this presents a once-in-a-generation opportunity in the fight against HIV; if everybody gets tested and knows their status, they can make the right health choices to look after themselves and others. People that test positive can start medication straight away, which in turn means they could prevent passing on the disease.
“At Owen Mumford, we want the availability of Simplitude ByMe™ to encourage more people to test themselves regularly so that those who test positive can access life-saving treatment at an early stage,” Leanne adds.
The latest figures from Public Health England estimate that in 2018 there were 7,500 people who were unaware that they were living with HIV. Of these, three in five were diagnosed early which means that they are able to take antiretroviral (ART) drugs which effectively control the virus and help prevent transmission, allowing people with HIV to enjoy healthy, long and productive lives.
Anyone having unprotected casual sex has a higher chance of contracting HIV, so regular testing is encouraged for anyone who may be at risk.
Simplitude ByMe™ self-test kit is available to discreetly purchase by visiting www.simplitudebyme.com.