Warning About Home Tests for STDs

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) warns against home testing kits for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.

Jef Akst
Jef Akst

Jef (an unusual nickname for Jennifer) got her master’s degree from Indiana University in April 2009 studying the mating behavior of seahorses. After four years of diving off the Gulf...

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Oct 26, 2011

An example of a home HIV test (the product pictured here is legally marketed in the US) WIKIMEDIA COMMONS, AGENCIA BRASIL

Home testing kits for sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and syphilis may be yielding false results, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) warned this week.

The HIV test, which are imported from China and sold online, are illegal in the UK, and many of the other tests failed to meet European regulations. The MHRA is investigating the matter and plans to shut down six UK websites selling the tests, the Press Association reported.

"These kits may be unreliable and there is a significant risk they could be providing the user with a false result," Susanne Ludgate, MHRA clinical director of devices, said in a press release. "We're concerned that there may be a number of self-test kits being sold online that...

The MHRA's investigation revealed that almost 500 kits have been sold. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has contacted people who have purchased tests. "The HPA has sent letters to members of the public across the UK who are known to have purchased these kits online to inform them that the result may be unreliable," Fortune Ncube, a consultant epidemiologist at the HPA, said in the press release. (Hat tip to BBC News)

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