Warning over HIV tests sold online

Illegal HIV test kits imported from China for sale online could give an incorrect diagnosis, a Government health watchdog warned today.







The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) plans to shut down six websites based in the UK which have sold kits without the necessary CE quality mark.



The websites also sold non-compliant testing devices for other sexually transmitted infections, including hepatitis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and syphilis.



Almost 500 people have already bought the kits, which allow users to test themselves for infection in their own homes.



People have been browsing the internet to buy the products as an anonymous alternative to being tested in a clinic.



Some of the kits came with no instructions at all, while others were confusing or insufficient.



The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has written to people who have bought the kits, warning them that they do not comply with UK guidelines.



The purchase details were contained in sales records uncovered during the MHRA investigation.



The agency regularly scans the internet to catch websites selling illegal devices.



In order to comply with EU rules, kits must carry the CE kite mark and the name and address of the manufacturer or an EU-based representative.



It is illegal in the UK to sell any kits to test for HIV, but not for other sexually transmitted infections.



The HPA stressed that free and confidential tests are available on the NHS.



Susanne Ludgate, the MHRA's clinical director of services, said: "As far as self-test kits for sexually transmitted infections are concerned, purchasers should check that any kits purchased from internet sites are CE marked, which should denote conformity with the relevant European legislation.



"We're concerned that there may be a number of self-test kits being sold online that may not be compliant with the relevant piece of legislation and we're urging people not to consider the internet as a method of anonymous testing.



"These kits may be unreliable and there is a significant risk they could be providing the user with a false result."



Dr Fortune Ncube, a consultant epidemiologist at the HPA, said: "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."



:: Anyone worried about a self-test kit they bought online can contact their GP, pharmacist or sexual health clinic for advice, or email devices.compliancemhra.gsi.gov.uk.

PA

Suggested Topics
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

    £37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

    Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

    £25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

    Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

    £16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

    Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

    £25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea