Britain: The world’s first HIV self-testing kit based on a pinprick of blood is launched on Monday and can tell you in 15 minutes whether you have the virus.

The test is more than 99.7% accurate and could help identify the estimated 26,000 people in Britain who are infected but don’t know it.

The BioSURE HIV Self Test carries the European wide specialist CE mark, having passed rigorous tests and correctly identified 999 of every 1000 negative samples and 997 of every 1000 positive samples.

There are home blood tests which need to be posted off to a lab with a five day wait for results and also one available in the states which uses a mouth swab which is far less accurate, but this is the first legal HIV blood test to offer people a quick result at the time and place of their choosing.

Hospitals can carry out blood tests but it is hoped that this more discreet alternative will encourage those who would not want to go to a doctor until they know they have it.

The test uses a very small amount of blood from a finger prick sample to detect the presence of HIV antibodies.

Almost half of newly diagnosed cases in 2013 were diagnosed later than treatment should have started, affecting their health and life expectancy.

The test will initially only be sold on line through BioSURE’s dedicated website and through the NHS online shop at a retail price of £29.95, including postage and packing.

It won’t be available in the high street as the company believes that would negate the discreet and anonymous aspects of self testing.

Brigette Bard, BioSure founder and CEO said: “Knowing your HIV status is critical and the launch of this product will empower people to discreetly test themselves when it is convenient to them and in a place where they feel comfortable.

“We passionately believe that we can help to reduce HIV infection rates.”

She added: “The process of gaining the CE mark for an HIV self-test is extremely rigorous and requires proof that an untrained user can perform the test and read the results with the same level of accuracy as a trained healthcare professional.

“However the BioSURE HIV self-test may not detect recent HIV infection as it can take up to three months for the level of antibodies to become detectable.”