PEOPLE who are concerned they might have HIV can now legally test themselves in their own homes.

Until now it was illegal in the UK to do an HIV test at home and read the result yourself - people could take a sample themselves, send it off for testing and get the result at a later date.

But a change in the law will mean people can do a simple saliva test at home which will quickly give the user a 'negative' or a 'positive indication' result.

The law has changed, but no kit has yet met quality standards for approval for UK use. Sexual health charities have said a kit should be available by the end of the year or early next year.

Experts hope making the tests more readily available will help cut infection rates.

There are about 100,000 people infected in the UK, including around 22,000 who have the human immunodeficiency virus but do not know they are infected.

Deborah Jack, chief executive of the National Aids Trust, said: "I really hope the introduction of self-testing kits will increase the level of HIV testing in the UK and help reduce the worrying level of undiagnosed HIV.

"Currently, one in five people in the UK who have HIV don't know they have it and over half are diagnosed late, meaning they have had HIV for at least four years.

"Being diagnosed late means you are more likely to get ill."