From today, pharmacies across the country will be selling over-the-counter self-test HIV kits. 

The medical device takes a pinprick sample of blood and can detect HIV antibodies within 15 minutes. It is available to anyone over the age of 18 and can be purchased without a prescription. 

The launch of the kit comes as the number of HIV diagnoses in Ireland have significantly increased. Since 2016, there have been 508 new cases of the disease – a 43.9 percent increase from 2006.

"Ireland becomes our fourth market to launch in, following already successful launches in France, Italy and Spain," explained Owen McKeon country manager for Mylan Ireland, the company behind the device.

"Over the coming months, we will be working with HIV patient organisations to increase awareness of the importance of early testing, and how tools like our self-testing kit, as well as taking a proactive approach to your health, can help in the fight against the spread of HIV."