Our home HIV test kit can help you check if you have HIV.
You will need to take a small blood sample and then send it back to our partner laboratory for analysis. We will contact you with your results within 3-5 days of the lab receiving your sample.
This is a convenient, discrete way of testing for HIV. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours please visit your local sexual health clinic immediately.
About the test
This home test kit detects the presence of HIV in your blood sample and is very accurate (99.8%) in finding the HIV infection if taken at least 6 weeks after the potential exposure.
The test kit provides instructions and everything you need to provide the blood sample including a sterile 'lancet' to perform a skin prick, the sample bottle, and a pre-paid envelope in which to post the sample.
How does the test work
The HIV test is an HIV 1&2 Abs/p24 Ag combination (Fourth Generation) test. It is the same test as would be offered by most sexual health clinics, unless they are using a rapid HIV test.
The test works in two ways by detecting the HIV virus itself, and it also detecting the antibodies your body would make to fight HIV if you were infected.
The test looks for HIV 1 and 2. It is 99.8% accurate at spotting the HIV infection if you have contracted it more than 6 weeks ago.
We send the test out to you in the post. It won’t say anywhere on the outside of the parcel what it is, our packaging is very discrete. You use the lancet (very small needle) in the test to prick the end of your finger and then squeeze some blood into the collection tube. You then send this back to our laboratory in a pre-paid envelope.
We will contact you with your results within 3-5 days of the lab receiving your sample.
When to test
The test will only detect an HIV infection that you have caught more than 6 weeks ago.
If you are worried about being exposed to HIV within the last 6 weeks, you can find a sexual health clinic offering an HIV RNA PCR test, or talk to someone at the clinic about other testing and treatment options.
What Happens if my test is Positive?
A positive test result doesn’t mean for certain that you are living with HIV. There is a slight chance that you are not, because the test has a small margin of error. So, if you do test positive, you’ll need to have a confirmation test. If the confirmation test is also positive, the doctor or nurse who gives you your result will then put you in touch with a specialist. He or she will discuss what your options are for treatment and talk to you about the infection and what stage it is at. You’ll also be given the names of some support groups who can help you.
HIV - The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is transmitted during sex or when sharing needles with an infected person. It is important that you get tested if you believe that you may have caught HIV. Early treatment allows patients to lead an almost normal life with a normal life expectancy. If the infection is not treated early on, however, the virus spreads and damages your immune system. You need to get tested at least six weeks after you may have been exposed to the virus. This is important, as the test may not be accurate if taken earlier.
How is HIV Transmitted?
HIV can be passed on during unprotected sexual contact. Unprotected vaginal and anal sex are considered high risk. It is possible for HIV transmission to occur through oral sex (mouth to penis, mouth to vagina), but this is rare and so considered to be low risk. Just under half of all new HIV infections in 2011 were passed on through heterosexual sex.
HIV can be passed on as a result of direct blood contact (including blood transfusions or sharing needles). This is also very high risk.
Finally, HIV can be passed from a mother to baby (before or at birth or through breast milk).
It is not possible to get HIV through contact with saliva, tears, faeces, urine or sweat.
What if I Don't Have Symptoms?
About one in five people who get the infection HIV have no HIV symptoms. The only way to know whether you have it is to do a test. Most people get some flu-like symptoms between two and six weeks after they are exposed to the virus. This happens because your immune system tries to fight the virus. It can last for up to a month, but then you might not have any further symptoms until much later on. The test is the only way to find out for sure. The earlier you are diagnosed, the better. Please be aware that the test will only detect an HIV infection that you have caught more than 6 weeks ago. You should wait until six weeks after you may have been exposed to the virus before you get tested.
How does it work?
How do I get treatment?
Our top tips on how to do your STI test
For blood tests:
- Blood flows easier when your hands are warm, so perhaps take the test after a hot shower or bath or hold your hand under warm water for a few minutes.
- Stay standing and keep your arm straight with your hand below your waist
- Aim for the middle of the tip of your finger, not too close to your fingernail
- Push lancet down hard against your finger
- Wipe the first dot of blood away with a clean tissue to stop the blood congealing
- If your finger dries up, wait a while, warm up your hand, use another finger and make sure you press the lancet down hard against your finger.
Tips from people who have completed test kits.
- Relax and be patient and if you’re nervous, ask someone to help you.
- Watch the instruction video and read the instruction leaflet.
- Tying your long hair back can make things easier.
- Remove scarves and jewellery so they can’t get in the way.
- Lay the test kit items and your two tissues on a clean, flat surface.