Home HIV Test Kits
BIOSURE HIV HOME SELF TEST KIT
Test results in just 15 minutes from a single drop of blood in the comfort of your own home.
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INSTI HIV HOME SELF TEST KIT
Sample, pour and get confidential results in just 60 seconds in the privacy of your own home.
FInd out more
What is an HIV test kit?
The test kit checks whether you have contracted HIV.
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 amount of blood 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 on a Friday before 4pm you can upgrade your delivery, for a small premium of only £4, to a Saturday or Sunday 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. If you think you may have contracted HIV from a more recent exposure, we recommend that you wait until 45 days afterwards before you get tested.
If you think 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 do I get my test result?
Your test result usually arrives 24 hours after the lab receives your blood sample. You will receive a message from us via your chosen method of communication, text or an email, asking you to log into your secure account to access your result.
The test will give you 1 of 2 results :-
1) "Undetected" 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.
How confidential is the service?
Your test kit 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.
This is what the packaging looks like from DPD
This is what the packaging looks like when your order is delivered by Royal Mail Special Delivery
How does the test work?
The HIV test that we use is a 5th generation test. This is the first commercial screening assay to be able to distinguish between HIV-1 antibodies, HIV-2 antibodies and HIV-1 p24 antigen. In addition to the early detection offered by 4th generation assays, this 5th generation assay provides more information by specifically identifying HIV-1 or HIV-2 and allows results of antigen and antibody detection to be reported individually. Because antigens and antibodies are detectable at different stages of the infection, reporting of both helps to differentiate between acute and established HIV infection.
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% (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?
People who are at higher risk of becoming infected with HIV include :-
- men who have 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 more common eg Africa, Eastern Europe, Asia, Central or 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
- 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 on 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 :-
- sore throat
- body rash
They are a sign that your immune system is putting up a fight against the virus. This period of time is called "seroconversion". It means that your sero status is converting from being HIV antibody negative to HIV antibody positive. 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 45 days 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 45 days 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 or A&E dept. 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 a regular HIV test 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 sexual 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.
To find your nearest sexual health clinic you can click on the appropriate country specific links below :-
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 risk is not knowing.
Get tested now!