Two Scottish charities have launched a HIV home-testing service in the hope they can break the chain of transmission during lockdown.
HIV Scotland and Waverley Care have teamed up to offer the free testing service at a time when access to sexual health services has been reduced to emergency testing only.
Experts have said that the opportunity physical distancing offers could break the chain of transmission in HIV.
Swift access to treatments can result in an undetectable viral load, which makes them unable to transmit the virus.
Scotland is aiming to reach zero new HIV transmissions by 2030.
Nathan Sparling, chief executive of HIV Scotland said: “HIV Self Test Scotland is a brand new service with the aim of getting HIV tests in to the hands of people who need it, when and where it is convenient for them.
“Diagnosing HIV is the most important part of our mission to reach zero new HIV transmissions, so it’s important that we’re launching this service for people to access a test when the advice is to stay at home.
“Self-testing is fast, safe, accurate and convenient – and it provides people with another option that can help people get swift access to treatment if needed.
“It’s important for everyone to know their HIV status so they can protect their health, and that of their partners too.”
Grant Sugden, chief executive of Waverley Care, added: “There are still around 500 people living with HIV in Scotland that don’t know they have it.
“Diagnosing people living with HIV is the first part in preventing new transmissions, as people can access effective treatment which suppresses the virus to levels which cannot be transmitted through sex.
“HIV Self Test Scotland is a great new project, as part of a new partnership that provides many people in Scotland with a new option for testing.
“Regardless of someone’s HIV status, they’ll also be able to access dedicated support that will help them access treatment, or stay negative.”
The new service, HIV Self Test Scotland, is available to anyone who might have been at risk of HIV.
People can choose between making a £15 donation, or getting a free test delivered to a place that suits them.
Support will be available to anyone regardless of the result, ensuring people can access swift treatment, or advice on how to stay HIV negative.