A growing number of people in Birmingham and Solihull are home testing for a range of sexually transmitted infections including HIV.
New sexual health provider Umbrella launched the self-sampling service in August and since then more than 1,000 people have carried out the tests at home.
Now, during HIV Testing Week (Nov 20-27), Birmingham health bosses are aiming to further raise awareness of the self-sampling service.
There are around 1,900 people living with HIV in Birmingham at the moment. Testing and having an early diagnosis, leading to early treatment, gives people the best chance at living a healthy life, for longer, and also reduces the risk of passing on the infection to someone else unknowingly.
Now, in addition to tests at Umbrella clinics anyone aged 16 or over, living in Birmingham or Solihull, can request a free STI self-sampling kit. Find your nearest Umbrella clinic
Birmingham City Council Cabinet Member for Health and Social Care, Cllr Paulette Hamilton said: “The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test. But some people may feel intimidated coming into a clinic to be tested. So home testing is another option for anyone who feels they may have put themselves at risk of a range of sexually transmitted infections including HIV. And the new service is proving popular.
“It’s important to remember that not all STIs have symptoms, so if you’re worried about sexually transmitted infections, it’s best to get tested.”
Dr Keith Radcliffe, Sexual Health and HIV Consultant at University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust, which runs Umbrella, said: “If you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV you should get tested – and it’s never been easier. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the earlier treatment can start and the better the outcome. Treatments for HIV are good and enable most people with the virus to live a long and healthy life.”
To request a free self-sampling kit, simply go to: https://umbrellahealth.co.uk/our-services/self-sampling-kits
You’ll be asked to:
- Answer a few short questions
- Choose where to have your kit delivered *
- Collect or receive your kit
- Follow the instructions to take your samples
- Return your samples in the pre-paid package
- Receive the results of your STI test by phone or text
* You can have your kit delivered to your home or another address, or collect it from an Umbrella pharmacy or clinic.
All kits allow Umbrella to test for:
- For men who have (or have had) sex with other men, hepatitis B is also included.