As you can probably guess I take sexual health and well-being very seriously.
I believe that everyone has a right to good sexual health and that personal circumstances should not be a barrier to being able to pursue this right.
Of course, the reality of our world is never quite in line with any aspirations we may have, but there’s something to be said about promoting positive change in any way possible.
Freedoms Shop are definitely doing this with their selection of products, among which the BioSure HIV Self Test is a profound and potentially hugely important addition.
About Freedoms Shop
If you’re looking for a reliable, discreet, and assuring sexual health retailer then Freedoms Shop is pretty much the best option available in the UK.
Freedoms Shop is an official NHS sexual health initiative—run by the Central and North West London Foundational Trust and available to anyone in the UK via its online store.
The magic ingredient behind Freedoms Shop’s success is buying in bulk (yup, the savers do have the right idea there, it seems). Due to the huge amount that Freedoms Shop purchases they have been able to secure lower prices, which makes their items much more accessible than other retailers. This makes them a fantastic resource for anyone who struggles with the cost of condoms, lubricant, or anything similar.
Mr Peaches and I have personally used Freedoms Shop to buy Skyn condoms in bulk for at least two years now. The service they provide has always been prompt and the packaging discreet. There has never been any damage and for us the service is truly invaluable (a lot of sex toy testing means a lot of condoms, after all).
Freedoms Shop also works very closely with Do It London, which is a safer sex initiative hoping to increase the rate of HIV testing and to help improve everyone’s sexual life.
The BioSure HIV Self Test
The BioSure HIV Self Test is just one way that Freedoms Shop has committed to this achievement and, honestly, it’s friggin amazing!
With just £29.95 and 15 minutes of your time (weeeeell potentially a tad longer, but more on that later) you can check your HIV status is the comfort of your own home and with all of the security and assurance that this comes with.
I have had a HIV test at my University and I can attest to how daunting some may find it. The test was quick, easy, and went extremely well (with very friendly staff and an overall positive ambiance) but that doesn’t stop the fear and/or apprehension that some people may have.
Just walking to the testing area I will admit that I felt nervous, and I’ve only ever had one sexual partner! I could only imagine how someone with a larger concern about their status might feel.
Of course the BioSure HIV Self Test is not made to deter from other methods of testing. Neither does it discourage those means of testing (which, I must emphasize, are actually fantastic, personal apprehensions aside). In fact, one of the limiting factors of the BioSure HIV Self Test is that it cannot detect HIV infections that may have occurred within the initial 3 month period, so other means of testing are also vital. But in all other instances the BioSure HIV Self Test is 99.7% accurate after only a single prick and a 15 minute wait time. No fuss, no at-home science attempts. Literally the only thing that you’ll need to provide outside of this kit is a way to time 15 minutes.
So what does the kit contain then?
To put it simply, everything you’ll need. This includes:
1 x BioSURE HIV Self Test device
1 x Single Use Safety Lancet
1 x Plaster
1 x How To Test Guide
1 x Your Result Guide
1 x Next Steps Guide
1 x Product Insert
1 x Opaque Disposal Envelope
One of the things that I really loved about the BioSure HIV Self Test is that although an in-depth testing guide is provided for those who wish to read it, the BioSure HIV Self Test itself actually presents it guides through easy-to-read, visually-accompanied instructions which are available on the inside of the box and guide you through every part of the process.
I may be an adult product reviewer, but I was never the best student when it came to Chemistry at school and I did not want to mess up. Because of this I cannot fully encapsulate the extreme relief I immediately felt upon seeing how this guide was presented. It made every part of the process seem easy to achieve and eliminated all worry that I may have felt.
I’ve honestly seen hair dye instructions that were more complex, so the beautiful simplicity of the instructions provided with this kit really does feel like a massive achievement.
If only there was a warning that a certain amount of pressure is permitted…
Let me explain.
As part of the testing process with the BioSure HIV Self Test you have a little ‘buffer bottle’ which needs to be inserted in to a plastic hole provided by the kit in order to keep it secure for a later part of the process. But at first I honestly couldn’t get the damned thing in to the hole.
This is a relatively obscure issue for me and for a long time I was convinced that I had a defective kit, then I gave it a little bit of ‘welly’. This did the trick pretty much immediately at which point I realized I just wasn’t being firm enough.
Equally I wasn’t firm enough with a later stage of the process either, so I suppose my biggest piece of advice to you is not to be afraid of being a bit firm with your kit if it doesn’t seem to be co-operating. Trust me—it can take it.
Now, yes, this kit does work by taking a blood sample and this means that a lancet is involved. The lancet is placed on the side of your finger and needs to be pressed down in order to create a little pin-prick wound, releasing some blood. This pricking sensation lasts for only a short time and is no worse than accidentally being jabbed by a thorn. This is where my test took more than 15 minutes though.
Something you may not know about me is that I am extremely nervous of needles. I can sit for a tattoo for hours, spank myself with a paddle, run a pinwheel over every inch of my skin, but ask me to jab myself with a needle? You might as well be asking me to put my hand on an open flame—my survival instincts kick in and I willfully avoid the action.
Although I knew the lancet would be relatively pain-free (and although I’d been jabbed multiple times before) forcing myself to self-jab was probably the most difficult part of this process. Willing myself to push the lancet down was one of the hardest things I’ve done in months and it was a true battle of wills with real physical effects. My hands got clammy at the thought, my heart raced, and I felt daunted every time it got close to my skin.
But, as I said before, sexual health matters and I inevitably knew that the brief second of pain I would feel would be nothing compared to the reassurance that this test could provide.
And so I jabbed myself with a needle, for you and for myself. I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I felt accomplished about this.
Because of my own apprehensions I also realized just how important this kit may be for someone who has a fear of needles too. If you dislike them then you can do this test on your own terms and without having to expose a vulnerable aspect of yourself to someone else. This could be another huge bonus for some (and, of course, the aspect of ‘facing your fears’ is present here too, in a highly controlled and secure manner).
Once you’ve used the lancet all you need to do is collect your blood in the given device and pierce it in to place in the buffer bottle before waiting 15 minutes for your result. Of course, these aren’t the most comfortable 15 minutes in the world but, again, when at home you can do whatever you want with that time, rather than being confined to an anxious or otherwise awkward waiting period.
As with the instructions the BioSure HIV Self Test makes your results very clear, cutting any uncertainty out of the process. Oh, and you even get a lil plaster to put around your jabbed finger—very considerate.
Once you’re done with the test the BioSure HIV Self Test advices on what you might need to do based on the results and offers a safe, disposable bag for use. Everything packs back in to the BioSure HIV Self Test box extremely well and the bag itself is so inconspicuous that no one would ever be able to guess what was inside. It seals very securely too.
It’s at this point in my review that I would usually discuss downsides, but what is there to say against such a convenient kit? Yes, it requires a firm hand and, yes, it may cause some issues for those who just can’t face needles, but overall the kit itself ticks all the necessary boxes and provides a service that I honestly believe will change the way that many people approach sexual health checks.
What is there to say except ‘Bravo’?
Bravo to Freedoms Shop for selling such an affordable kit. Bravo to BioSure for creating such a wonderfully efficient and reassuring product. And Bravo to anyone who decides to take their testing in to their own hands and purchase one of these kits.
I have so much admiration for the BioSure HIV Self Test and everything it stands for.
My finger may be slightly sore but my sexual health has been confirmed to me and my mind is at absolute ease. Through an intimate and inspiring process I took my sexual health in to my own hands to get to this point and I urge others to do so too.
This kit isn’t perfect, but it’s definitely pivotal in the move towards better HIV testing options and for that I am incredibly grateful.
People who dislike public health screenings.
People who value their privacy.
People with social-based mental health concerns.
Do Not Recommend to:
People who cannot stand needles in any instance.
People who have very recent fears (within the 3 month time frame).
People who have mobility concerns.