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HIV Test Kit

HIV and Syphilis Test Kit

Our discreet 4th generation HIV test kit also detects Syphilis.

Your test result will normally be available 2 days after the lab receives your sample.

Includes pre-paid return postage and packaging for the test.

Courier Next working day delivery in a 1 hour time slot, where you can track the driver 'live' down to a 15 minute window. Or divert to a local Pickup shop.

The only online pharmacy to offer this as standard to the majority of mainland UK.

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A medical questionnaire and online prescription is required in order to purchase this medication.

What is an HIV and Syphilis test kit?

The test kit checks whether you have contracted  HIV and /or Syphilis.
You will need to produce a small blood sample using a sterile lancet that is enclosed within the test kit. The lancet pricks the side of your little finger and you massage a small blood sample into the collection tube. Full instructions are supplied with the kit. There is a pre-paid envelope for your sample that can be posted in any postbox.

We will send your test kit in discreet packaging with no mention of the contents or who it’s from. Your parcel will be delivered, by our carrier DPD, in a very convenient 1 hour delivery slot or you can divert it to 1 of 2,500 pickup shops.
If you order before 4pm we will send out your test kit the same day for free tracked delivery the next working day. If you order after 4pm it will be processed the next working day.

If you order on a Friday before 4pm you can upgrade your delivery, for a small premium of only £4, to a Saturday or Sunday tracked delivery.

What is the window period for the test?

It’s very accurate (99.8%) at detecting the presence of HIV in your blood providing the sample is taken at least 45 days after potential exposure to the virus.

However, the incubation period for Syphilis is 21 days but can vary between 9-90 days. So, if you take this test before 90 days have passed since exposure to Syphilis then you should repeat the test to confirm your result. 
If you think that you may have contracted HIV in the last 72 hours then please visit your local sexual health clinic or A&E department of a hospital immediately. This is very important as you can be offered post exposure prophylaxis (PEP). PEP is a treatment that can prevent HIV infection after the virus has entered a person's body.

To help you work out if PEP is appropriate for you or someone you’ve had sex with you can call THT(Terrence Higgins Trust) Direct on 0808 802 1221

How confidential is the service?

Your parcel will be delivered in plain packaging with no mention of the contents or who it’s from. Your test result will be completely confidential and we will not inform anyone, including your GP, that you have used our service unless you ask us to.

How do I get my test results?

Your test result usually arrives within 2-3 days of the lab receiving your blood sample. You will receive a text or an email from us asking you to log into your account to access your result.

For HIV you will get you 1 of 2 results :-
1) “Negative” means that there is no HIV detected in your blood sample. You do not need to take any further action unless you have been exposed to HIV since taking the sample. 
2) “Reactive” means that there is a possibility that you have HIV. It doesn’t mean that you are definitely positive for HIV as the test has a small margin of error as it can react with cold or flu viruses within your body. You will need a confirmation venous blood test to determine if you are HIV positive. This test can be done at a sexual health clinic. We can signpost you to your nearest sexual health clinic and our doctors will be available with help and advice so that you can find specialist care in your area and local support groups.

For Syphilis, your test result will indicate if you are clear of infection or perhaps have an active infection or been infected in the past

If your results say "negative" then you are clear of infection.

If your results say "reactive" then you would need to make an appointment with your GP or a sexual health clinic to have a venous blood sample taken. Only then will you know if you have an active infection or whether you have had syphilis previously. 

What is Syphilis?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by bacteria. It can be transmitted during vaginal, anal or oral sex. During the early stages of infection it usually causes painless but very infectious sores or ulcers called  chancres.
It's important to get tested and treated as soon as possible if you think you might have syphilis, as it can cause serious problems if it's left untreated. It can cause damage to your inner organs and as the disease progresses it can cause brain damage and dementia.

It can be effectively treated with a short course of antibiotics.
You can catch syphilis more than once, even if you've been treated for it before. It’s transmitted during sex but it can also be transmitted when sharing needles or sex toys.

The incubation period is usually 21 days but can vary between 9- 90 days. Therefore, if you get tested before 3 months after exposure you should repeat the test to confirm your result.

What are the symptoms of  Syphilis in men and women?

The symptoms of syphilis are similar for men and women.
Some people with syphilis have no symptoms and even if they do, they're often mild and difficult to recognise, so you may pass on the infection without knowing you have it.

The symptoms also tend to change over time and may come and go.
Syphilis infection occurs in three stages, each with their own distinct symptoms :

The first symptoms of syphilis usually develop around two or three weeks after infection, although they can start later than this.

This stage of the infection is known as "primary syphilis".

Stage 1: Primary syphilis ( 2-3 weeks after infection)
Small, painless sores or ulcers (chancres) that typically appear on the penis, vagina, or around the anus, but can occur in other places such as the mouth. The infection is spread by contact with these sores.
Swollen glands in your neck, groin or armpits may also occur.
These symptoms usually pass within 3 to 8 weeks. But if the infection isn't treated, it may progress to a second stage

Stage 2: Secondary syphilis (occurs 4-10 weeks after initial chancre)
This next stage of syphilis can cause flu-like symptoms such as tiredness, headaches, joint pains, a high temperature (fever).

Wart like lesions on the genitals, patchy hair loss, white patches in the mouth and a non-itchy or itchy blotchy red rash that often affects the palms of the hands or soles of the feet.

These symptoms usually pass within a few weeks, although they may come and go over several months before they disappear.

There is a greater risk of passing the infection to other people during the primary and secondary stages.

After these initial stages, a hidden or latent stage occurs where no symptoms are experienced. This can last for years. However, if it's left untreated, syphilis can spread to the brain or other parts of the body and cause serious, long-term problems.

Stage 3: Tertiary syphilis ( 20-40 years after initial infection)
This third stage of syphilis is the most dangerous, affecting around a third of people who are not treated for syphilis in the earlier stages. Tertiary syphilis can cause damage to the brain, nerves, eyes, heart, bones, skin or blood vessels. This may lead to serious or even life-threatening conditions including stroke, heart disease, dementia, loss of co-ordination, numbness, paralysis or becoming blind or deaf.

Syphilis is still treatable at this stage, but it's sometimes not possible to reverse any damage that's already been done.

People with syphilis are around three to five times more likely to be infected with HIV, which can enter the body through any syphilis sores that start to bleed during sex.

How do you get Syphilis?

Syphilis is mainly spread through close contact with an infected sore.
This usually happens during vaginal, anal or oral sex, or by sharing sex toys with someone who's infected. Anyone who's sexually active is potentially at risk. It may be possible to catch syphilis if you're an injecting drug user and you share needles with somebody who's infected.

Pregnant women with syphilis can also pass the infection to their unborn baby

Can you protect yourself against getting Syphilis?

Syphilis can't always be prevented, but if you're sexually active you can reduce your risk by practising safer sex:-
use a male condom or female condom during vaginal, oral and anal sex

use a dental dam (a square of plastic) during oral sex

avoid sharing sex toys but if you do share them, wash them and cover them with a condom before each use

If you're an injecting drug user, don't use other people's needles or share your needles with others.

These actions can also reduce your risk of catching other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Pregnant women with syphilis can give it to their baby, with the risk of stillbirth or miscarriage.

Who should get tested for syphilis?

You should get tested for syphilis if you're worried you might have it or had unprotested sex with a partner who has been diagnosed with syphilis or you have symptoms of syphilis. Also, if you have shared needles with anyone or shared sex toys.

Test Procedure

It can take up to 90 days after exposure to Syphilis before it can be detected.
If you do the test before 90 days have passed since exposure to Syphilis you should confirm any negative results at a later date by repeating the test in case it was too early to give an accurate result.

The test differentiates between active current  infection and previous infection.

Treatment for Syphilis

A short course of antibiotics can usually cure syphilis. The type of treatment you need depends on how long you've had syphilis.

The treatment can be obtained from your GP or local sexual health clinic.

 How common is HIV in the UK?

According to the Terrence Higgins Trust, THT, around 101,200 people were living with HIV in the UK at the end of 2015. Of those 101,200 over 13,156 (1 in 7) don’t know they have HIV because they have never had an HIV test or they have got HIV since their last test.

Recent years have seen around 6,000 people test positive for HIV each year- more than half are gay or bisexual men.

Around 47,000 gay or bisexual men and around 49,500 heterosexuals were estimated to be living with HIV in the UK by the end of 2015.

In the heterosexual population of those living with HIV, 58% are from black African communities.

Who is most at risk of contracting HIV?

People who are at higher risk of becoming infected with HIV include:-

  • Men who have had unprotected sex with men
  • Women who have had sex without a condom with men who have sex with men
  • People who have moved to the UK from parts of the world where HIV is much more common eg Africa, eastern Europe, Asia, central and southern America.
  • Drug users who share injecting equipment

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV lives in the blood and some body fluids. To get HIV, one of those fluids from someone with HIV has to get into your blood. The body fluids that contain enough HIV to infect someone are:-

  • blood, including menstrual blood
  • semen
  • vaginal fluids
  • breast milk
  • lining inside the anus

Other body fluids, like saliva, sweat or urine don’t contain enough of the virus to infect another person.

Most people diagnosed with HIV in the UK acquire the virus through unprotected vaginal and anal sex. It’s also possible to catch HIV through unprotected oral sex but the risk is much lower and so it’s very rare.

Other ways of getting HIV include sharing needles, syringes and other injecting equipment. Also, sharing sex toys with someone infected with HIV.  It can be passed from mother to baby before or during birth or by breastfeeding but thanks to antenatal screening programmes, most pregnant women find out about their HIV status.  If necessary they can receive HIV medication and so now, hardly any babies are born with HIV in The UK.

What are the symptoms?

Most people who are infected with HIV experience a short ( lasting around 2 weeks) flu-like illness that occurs within 6 weeks of infection. The most common symptoms are :-

  • fever sore throat
  • body rash

They are a sign that your immune system is putting up a fight against the virus.

Once this passes an infected person usually feels fine for a number of years.

During this time, known as asymptomatic HIV infection, the virus continues to be active and causes progressive damage to your immune system. This can lead to life-threatening illnesses such as cancer, tuberculosis (TB) and pneumonia. Early diagnosis and treatment of HIV can prevent these illnesses.

Therefore, it’s extremely important that you get tested if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, even if you have no symptoms.

You should wait until 6 weeks after you think you have been exposed to the virus before you get tested as the test will only detect an HIV infection that you have caught more than 6 weeks ago.

However, if you think you may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours please go to your local sexual health clinic immediately to receive treatment.

Who should get tested?

Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested.
Certain groups of people are at particularly high risk and are advised to have regular tests :-

  • men who have sex with men are advised to have an HIV test at least once a year, or every 3 months if they’re having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
  • black African men and women are advised to have an HIV test and a regular HIV and STI screen if they’re having unprotected sex with new or casual partners.
  • People who share needles, syringes or other injecting equipment.

Testing at the start of a relationship as part of a full sexual health check is recommended, especially if you plan on not using condoms. Also, a negative test result in the past is no longer accurate if you’ve taken risks since.

Counselling and emotional support

You may wish to talk anonymously and in confidence to a trained telephone advisor on one of the national helplines. These are :-
Sexual Health Line England 0300 123 7123
Sexual Health Line Scotland 0800 224 488
Sexual Health Local services Wales 0845 4647
Northern Ireland (NHS Sexual Health Helpline) 0800 567123
Terrence Higgins Trust Helpline 0808 802 1221

Terrence Higgins Trust Counselling (THT)

The THT can provide excellent information, counselling and help with all aspects of HIV. Click on the following links for more help and information.
Online advice
Emotional support and counselling
Groups for people who are living with HIV

The greatest risk comes from not knowing...

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