Thailand residents can now test themselves for HIV in the privacy of their own homes, according to a report by local news platform One 31.

As of Apr 9, Thailand's Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved the public sale of home HIV test kits via pharmacies. Previously, HIV test kits could only be sold to medical professionals.

“Giving people the easy and early option to check for HIV will increase the chance of preventing passing the HIV to other people,” Tharet Kraratnairawiwong, MD, the secretary of the board of the FDA, was quoted as saying. “The sooner you find out, the sooner the treatment process can start and that would benefit both yourself and people around you. This is part of the project that we are trying to get rid of AIDS.”

The Thai Health Promotion Foundation reported that in 2015, over 1.5 million people suffered with HIV in Thailand—a figure that was growing at an average rate of 19 people per day. In 2017, Workpoint News reported that there were 77,034 people living with HIV in Bangkok. The prevalance of HIV/AIDS in Thailand is close to four times that of countries like India and the US.

By offering an easy and anonymous alternative to visiting the doctor, it is hoped that people will be able to detect the virus at an ealier stage, seek treatment and avoid passing it on. It is important to note that the tests can show an inaccurate negative result if taken too close to the time of infection, and also sometimes show false positive results.

While the two chain pharmacies we visited in Sathorn did not have the HIV tests in stock, we were told they would consider it if the demand was there. For now, your best bet is probably to visit a standalone pharmacy close to a hospital.