Taking a self-screening test for HIV is a convenient way to make sure that you stay on top of your status. You can order a test online or buy it at a pharmacy and you can take the test at any time.
What steps will you need to take if you want to test for HIV yourself? Let’s find out!
- You need to make sure that you choose an environment where you can take the test in private without anyone disturbing you.
- It’s important to buy a self-testing kit from a place that is trustworthy and safe such as a pharmacy.
- Important note: Although children and teenagers between 12 to 18 years old can take a HIV self-test on their own, it is recommended that they take it with healthcare provider for support and advice.
5 steps to doing an HIV self-test
- Read the instructions clearly. You will find the instructions inside the box.
- Check the expiry date on the test to make sure the test is still valid. If it is expired, your results may be wrong.
- To take the test, you will need a small sample of blood from your finger or a swab from your mouth.
- Once you take the test, you will have to wait between 15-20 minutes until your results are ready.
- When you have finished with your test, remember to put all the things you used for the test back in the box. You must put the box in a plastic bag and throw it in the dustbin
Your test results
If your test result is negative, it means HIV was not picked up in your blood.
Important note: If it’s possible that you were exposed to HIV within 3 months before taking the test, you should take an HIV test again in 6-12 weeks to confirm the negative results. This is because of the window period.
What is the window period? This is the time from when a person is infected with HIV to when an HIV test is actually able to find the HIV antibodies in their saliva or blood. Antibodies are something your body makes to help you fight off a virus.
If your test result is negative, it’s a chance for you to think about ways to stay HIV negative. One option to prevent yourself from being infected by HIV is to take PrEP.
If your test result is positive, you should go to the clinic, pharmacy, or doctor to get tested again to confirm the result. If your test result is positive again, the healthcare provider will help you start on treatment and refer you for psychosocial support.
If you would like to talk to someone about your HIV status, our friends at loveLife are here for you.
Want to find out where else you can go to get tested for HIV? Click here.
Remember, HIV treatment works, and people with HIV can live long and healthy lives. Learn more here.
If your test result is negative, learn more about methods that you can use to prevent HIV here