Frequently asked questions
What is the (OraQuick) HIV self-test?
The OraQuick HIV self-test is a tool that allows a person to take a safe and reliable HIV test in a comfortable, convenient, and private setting.
This HIV self-test kit (Oraquick) uses oral fluid to detect the presence of HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies. It can give you results in 20 – 40 minutes, and if you follow the instructions carefully, the test can detect the virus in over 99% of HIV-infected people. As this is a “triage” test, it is very important, in case of a reactive result, to perform a confirmatory test to diagnose HIV.
What is the (OraQuick) HIV self-test?
The HIV self-test (OraQuick) should only be used for HIV testing and should not be used for any other purpose such as a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or other infection.
What are the benefits of using rapid oral HIV self-tests?
Rapid HIV tests that use oral fluid are safe and accurate, and they provide rapid results. They are an alternative to conventional HIV testing. The HIV self-test (OraQuick) also offers advantages such as convenience and privacy.
What can cause false positives when using the HIV self- test kit?
A false positive is when an HIV test shows that a person is HIV positive when they are not.
The conditions that can lead to a false positive HIV test are as follows:
- Not following the instructions on how to use the self-test kit carefully,
- Incorrectly reading the test as reactive
- Not waiting for 15 minutes after eating or drinking, or 30 minutes after using oral hygiene products, before taking the test
Can the HIV self-test be offered to partners/peers?
Offering a self-test kit and encouraging a sexual partner, peer, or friend, to take an HIV self-test is often an excellent way to help people learn their HIV status. But it is still important not to force or coerce them. The decision to take an HIV test should remain personal and voluntary.
I am on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), can I use an HIV self-test kit?
Yes, a person on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) to prevent HIV can use the self-test kit in testing for HIV
Can I use the HIV self-test kit on my child?
The HIV self-test kit is intended for use by individuals’ ages 12 and older. It is not for use in children under 12 years of age. If your child is younger than 12 years of age, and you are concerned that your child may have HIV, kindly talk with a health provider.
Will other non-HIV medications e.g., antibiotics, etc. affect my results
To date, there is no evidence that the use of antibiotics or other medication (other than antiretrovirals) may affect the test results. Please proceed with the test.
I wear braces. Can I still use the HIV self-test kit?
It is safe to use the HIV self-test kit if you wear braces or retainers.
There is a small pouch of absorbent material inside the package that contains the test kit. Should I do anything with it?
The small pouch inside the self-test package is designed to prevent moisture from affecting the test kit during storage. It is not used when performing the test and you may discard it in the trash.
I mistakenly/accidentally removed the test kit stick (or it fell out) from the vial early (before 20 minutes). Will my results be valid?
If you removed the test kit stick, or it fell out, at any point after you placed it in the test tube, the result of the test is not valid even if you immediately replaced the test kit stick. The test kit stick must remain in the test tube for at least 20 minutes as shown in the instructions. Therefore, do not consider your result an accurate indication of your HIV status. You can dispose of the test kit, reorder a new test kit, and carefully follow the handling and testing instructions on how to properly use the kit.
My test result was positive. Can someone get HIV by touching, licking, or other contacts with the saliva on the test kit stick or the test tube or liquid?
Medical experts agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body. This means that the risk of environmental transmission (spread) is remote. Therefore, if someone comes into direct contact with your self-test stick, there is extremely little risk of transmitting HIV to them. Contact with saliva has never been shown to result in the transmission of HIV. However, with a positive test result, you will need a second test to confirm your HIV status. Until your result is confirmed, be sure to take extra precautions to avoid any chance of spreading HIV. Generally, it will be helpful to avoid all sexual activities until you know your HIV status.
What do the letter “C” & “T” on the HIV self-test stick mean?
The letter “C” on the spatula means “control”. A line should appear next to the letter “C” if you have followed the instructions carefully and waited 20 – 40 minutes after placing your self-test kit stick in the tube. This line means that your test is working. If NO line appears next to the letter “C”, it means that your test is not working, and you will need to obtain a new one.
The letter “T” on the spatula means “test”. A line next to the letter “T”, even if the line is weak, and a line next to the letter “C”, means that you have a reactive result and that you may have HIV. You will need a second test to confirm your result. A “T” line, even if the line is weak, and no “C” line means that the test is invalid, and you need to be retested.
If you have a reactive result, you will need a second test to confirm your result. You will need to get in touch with a health provider to assist you.
There were no discolorations or marks on my self-test stick. What does this mean?
If there were no lines on the self-test stick when you read your result, your test did not work, hence the result is invalid. Do not take the result as a valid indication of your HIV status.
. Please repeat the procedure with a new self-test kit and carefully follow the instructions.
My test does not have a “C” line but a “T” line. What does this mean?
If your test has a line next to the letter “T”, but no line next to the letter “C”, it means your test did not work. For a test to work, a line MUST appear next to the area marked “C”. Therefore, the result is invalid. Please repeat the procedure with a new self-test kit and carefully follow the instructions.
My test has a line at “C” and a very weak line at “T”. What does this mean?
Any line next to the letter “T” on the self-test kit stick, regardless of its color or hue, means that you have a reactive result. You will need a second test to confirm your result. Until your test result is confirmed, please take precautions to avoid the risk of spreading HIV.
My test has a line at the “C” and a very dark line at the “T”. What does it mean?
Source: OraQuick Information and Answers. http://www.oraquick.com
If your test result shows a line next to the letter “C” and a line next to the letter “T”, your test is reactive. This result shows that there is a possibility that you may be infected with HIV. However, the intensity of the lines on the test key does not correspond to the stage of the disease or the potential for infection.
You will need a second test to confirm your result. Until your test result is confirmed, please take precautions to avoid the risk of spreading HIV