Having an HIV Antibody Test
If you are thinking of having the test, or if you are advised that you need to take the test for health reasons, you will be given the opportunity to speak to a trained staff member prior to and after you take the test.
This gives you the chance to talk about why you want to take the test and the feelings you might have when you receive your result, whether the result is positive or negative.
You can arrange an HIV antibody test at the Lanarkshire HIV, AIDS and Hepatitis centre or at any Genitourinary Medicine clinic. Your GP can usually also arrange for an HIV test. These tests are completely free and confidential.
When you take the test, a nurse will take a small sample of your blood which is then sent to the laboratory for testing. You may also be asked if you want a full sexually transmitted infection screen. It is up to you to decide if you want a full screening or just an HIV antibody test. It can take up to a week to get the results back of your HIV antibody test, depending on where you take the test.
NEW HIV Self Testing Kits
New way to test for HIV launched: HIV instant result self-test kits go on sale
If you can’t make it to your GP or HIV testing clinic, but want to get tested for HIV, there’s a new approach you can consider – instant result HIV self-test kits. They’re brand new and not available via the NHS, but you can buy them online. Here’s our quick guide to what you need to know about them:
Instant result self-test kits for HIV do just what the name suggests: they are kits you can use to test yourself for HIV. They give a result straight away, you can use them wherever you like, and there’s no need to involve a doctor or nurse unless you want to.
You can buy self-test kits online, but be careful: only buy kits that you can be sure meet European standards and carry the ‘CE’ mark. There’s no way to be sure other tests are safe or reliable. So far, the only test kit that has this CE quality mark is the BioSure HIV Self Test. You can find out more about it here: www.hivselftest.co.uk
These kits are very accurate if they’re used correctly: but it’s very important to follow the instructions that come with the kit carefully. Also know that it can take up to three months for HIV to show up in your blood. If you’re concerned or confused in any way, talk to your GP, nurse or staff from a sexual health clinic or specialist charity.
There are lots of ways to test for HIV: instant result self-testing is just one. It’s quick, convenient and can feel more private, but you might prefer to be tested by a health worker. NHS and community HIV tests are free, confidential and can be anonymous. They also give you the chance to be tested for other sexually transmitted infections at the same time, to talk about any concerns you have and to be referred to other services you might need. Just visit your GP, local sexual health service, or specialist charity. http://www.lanarkshiresexualhealth.org/hiv-hepatitis/hivclinics/hiv-clinics/
If you do want to use a self-test kit, have a think beforehand: how you would feel and what would you do if the test shows you might have HIV? Do you have questions or want to talk about it with a health worker first? It’s also a good idea to figure out where you could go for a follow-up test or for support.
If your self-test kit result says you have HIV, get it confirmed: go and get tested by your GP or at a clinic to confirm the result if it’s positive. This is standard practice for all HIV tests, and will make sure you get the information, care and support you need quickly. There isn’t a cure for HIV but treatment is very effective and people can live long and healthy lives.
If you get a negative result, it’s likely you don’t have HIV: so long as you followed the instructions carefully, you don’t need a follow-up test to confirm it. It’s a good idea to think about whether you need to be tested for other sexually transmitted infections, though. And remember: test for HIV regularly if you are having unprotected sex, and the best ways to prevent HIV are to use condoms http://www.lanarkshiresexualhealth.org/contraception/free-condoms/ and never share injecting kit.
For more information, testing or support:
• HIV Scotland
• Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland
• Waverley Care
• NHS Inform
• NHS 24