The kit will be available only online to facilitate the discreet testing of HIV.

A quick and accurate self-testing kit to check for HIV has just been launched for sale in the UK.

The kit from BioSURE uses just a pinprick of blood to detect HIV antibodies and can give results in 15 minutes.

The first legally approved HIV self-testing kit is claimed to be 99.7% accurate.

The kit will not be available in shops but has to be ordered online through, BioSURE's website or through the NHS online shop at a retail price of £29.95, including postage and packing.

This is meant to aid the discreet nature of the testing.

An estimated 26,000 people in Britain who are infected could benefit from the discreet alternative to visiting a doctor to check for infection by the deadly, sexually transmitted disease.

Many infected people are believed to be unaware of infection causing them to unwittingly transmit the disease.

Almost half of new cases in 2013 were diagnosed after the disease had progressed, affecting health and life expectancy. The kit is expected to reduce those numbers.

Will not detect recent infection

The BioSURE HIV self-test, however, may not detect recent HIV infection as it takes up to three months for the level of antibodies to become detectable.

Also, it is advised that those testing positive get results confirmed by a healthcare professional.

The kit carries the European-wide specialist CE mark, indicating rigorous tests. It was able to correctly identify 999 of every 1,000 negative samples and 997 of every 1,000 positive samples.

For HIV testing at present, there is home sampling which involves a person collecting a blood sample at home and sending it by post to a laboratory. They are then informed of their result by text or phone five days later.

The kit will improve on time for results as well as privacy.

"The single biggest thing that we can do to have a major impact on the HIV epidemic is to dramatically increase HIV testing rates, especially in those most at risk. The availability of HIV self-testing will help us achieve that," Dr Michael Brady of Kings College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, told Sky News.

HIV detection has become faster in recent days with improved diagnostics.

Self-testing kits have been available in the UK and other parts of the world but in all these kits the samples have to be sent back to labs for testing.

Almost 78 million people have been infected with the HIV virus and about 39 million have died of HIV the world over, says the World Health Organization. Almost 35 million people were living with the disease at the end of 2013 while 1.5 million died due to Aids-related symptoms.