About HIV self testing

Self testing is an easy way to test for HIV at home.
You do the test yourself. It’s quick, private and you don’t need to travel to a clinic. 

The self test uses fluid from your mouth to see if you have been infected with HIV.

You don’t need to give any blood samples. You’ll get the result in just 20 minutes.

Watch our video about using the self test kit

When should I do the test?

You can use a home HIV test any time that’s convenient for you.

Image: HIV self test packaging

These tests can only give an accurate result 3 or more months after the risk of infection with HIV takes place.

If you think you know when you were exposed to HIV, you should test now and test again 3 months after the exposure, to be sure of an accurate result.

We recommend that you test regularly for HIV.

How do I use an HIV self test kit at home?

Each test package includes full instructions about how to use the test and how to read the results.

A self test package contains a test device and a tube of liquid.

Taking the test involves rubbing a swab along your gums and then placing the swab in the tube of liquid. The result is available after 20 minutes. 

The test can only be used once. You’ll need a new kit to test again.

Test results

The home test makes it easy to understand the results. And the results can be kept private.

Image: Reading the results

If 1 line appears next to C, your test is non-reactive. It’s likely that you do not have HIV.

If 2 lines appear, even if one is faint, this means you may be HIV positive. You need to visit a clinic for a blood test as soon as possible. This will give you confirmed results. We can help you find a clinic that meets your needs. 

Getting this result can be confusing or worrying. But it’s important you have an HIV blood test to find out if you have the infection.

If 1 line appears next to T, the test has not worked and is invalid. Order a replacement kit and test again for your results.

Remember, this test is only accurate at least 3 months after you might have been exposed to HIV. So it does not always pick up new infections. If you think you might be at risk of HIV, you should test again in 3 months.

What do I do when I have my result?

I have a Reactive result

A reactive result with this test does not mean you are infected with HIV, however an additional test should be carried out in a clinic to confirm your result. We can help you find a clinic suitable for your needs.

If you test positive for HIV at the clinic, you’ll be given a prescription for antiretroviral medication. You can read more about this medication here.

If you test positive for HIV after confirmation, you should consider telling your current partners and anyone else that you have had sex with in the last 3 months to get tested too. We can support you with that.

It is important to note that people who have self tested should not be forced or coerced to disclose the results of their test to anyone. They should only do so on a voluntary basis.

I have a Non-Reactive result

A non-reactive result means the test did not detect a response by your immune system to the HIV infection. If you think you’ve been exposed to HIV in the last 3 months you should test again in 3 months time to confirm that you are not infected with HIV. Exposure can happen through unprotected sex. Not everyone who is HIV positive knows their status.

We recommend that you test regularly for HIV. You can speak to our friendly clinical team to find out how often, and to set up reminders to test.

Some people who are at risk of catching HIV choose to take a medication called PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis). This is a tablet which has few side effects and is highly effective at preventing HIV infection. We can help you find a clinic suitable for your needs.