Vulnerable patients are being put at risk when purchasing online HIV self-testing kits because many tests lack any Australian pre- or post-test advice, public health experts warn. 

Researchers from the University of Queensland assessed eight HIV self-testing kits they bought via the internet for between $15 and $85, which tested samples of blood, saliva or urine. 

While the accuracy of the tests was not assessed, two of the kits supplied were out of date and none of them met TGA requirements for HIV home-testing instructions or information on how to manage the results.

Most kits contained only generic advice to seek medical attention in the event of a positive result and none provided Australia-specific post-test information regarding links to health services, counselling or other support information. 

This is a major concern, given people seeking the kits “do so at a time of great vulnerability”, said the study’s lead author, Dr Owain Williams, senior research fellow at the school of public health, University of Queensland. 

“The ready availability of substandard tests poses a public health risk,” he said.

Last Reviewed: 07/07/2016

Australian Doctor