This new HIV test can be performed at home and gives an instant result

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The world's fastest HIV test has gone on sale online in the UK.

The Insti HIV self-test kit requires one drop of blood and returns a result instantly, up to 15 to 20 minutes faster than other self-test kits. Its findings are also over 99% accurate, according to its maker bioLytical.

Sales of 28,000 self-test packs (RRP £25.95) sold between 2015 and 2016 show that 75% were from non-metropolitan areas and almost half of users were first-time testers. This could point to the tests enabling those who live further from a clinic or are embarrassed to go to one using the kits to keep themselves safe.

Dr Christian Jessen (Gareth Fuller/PA)
(Gareth Fuller/PA)

TV doctor Christian Jessen, from Channel 4´s Embarrassing Bodies, told us: "Self-testing is incredibly important but in the whole it's getting across the importance of knowing your status in general that's important.

"There are so many misconceptions about testing positive and finding out is the first step to ensuring that you're not placing yourself or others at risk."

The makers of INSTI say that a reactive result can be obtained in as little as 21 days after infection, but that "it can take as long as 3 months to develop HIV antibodies in rare cases, therefore a negative result in any antibody test including INSTI within the three month window period following infection does not rule out HIV infection".

(Eranga Jayawardena/AP
(Eranga Jayawardena/AP)

So, it's not foolproof. Should the user return a positive result, Jessen offered some advice on what to do next.

"A good first step would be to contact your local GP and arrange an appointment. Alternatively, there's NHS Direct or a wide range of charities who have information and support to help you understand more about the patient journey."

Jessen also made his feelings on the provision of PrEP, the medication to help stop users contracting HIV, crystal clear.

"I'm strongly in favour of the free provision of PrEP. I know there is debate around necessity and lifestyle choices but, for me, not only is it about effective prevention, but it's also about detecting an array of other conditions.

"To qualify for PrEP, the candidate must have regular screenings, far more than for someone not using it. As a result, there's a lot more we can detect and prevent than just HIV."