What is HIV self-testing?

HIV self-test kits allow you to test for HIV in the privacy of your own home. You take a sample - either a saliva swab or blood from a finger prick - test it yourself using the kit and get your result straight away. You don't need to send your sample off to get your result.

Order a free HIV test from Terrence Higgins Trust and read the results yourself in 15 minutes: Order here.

You can order a free self-testing kit at www.test.hiv.

What happens when I get the result?

Your result should be availble 15-20 minutes after taking the test. 

  • If the result is negative: Unless you think you performed the test incorrectly, there shouldn't be a need to have a confirmation HIV test. However, if you think you've been exposed to HIV within the 3 months before taking the test, you should visit a sexual health clinic for a more accurate result.
  • If the result is positive: You should go to a sexual health clinic where they will test you using a blood sample to confirm the self-testing diagnosis. If you’re HIV-positive, they will discuss what to do next, including starting treatment. 

Why is self-testing different from testing at a clinic?

  • You can take the test in your own time and in the privacy of your own home
  • It's sometimes more convenient than visitng a sexual health clinic, especially if you want to test for HIV on a very regular basis (every couple of months)
  • HIV self-testing may not be right for you if you want to talk to someone or feel worried about how you would cope if you got a positive result
  • HIV tests in clinics are more reliable in shorter window periods (within three months of possibly being exposed to HIV)
  • If you're self-testing, an annual HIV test in a clinic is also a good idea, especially to have a full sexual health screening.  

Can I buy HIV self-test kits in the UK?

Self-testing kits became legal in the UK from 6 April 2014. Regulated kits are now available for sale but it is important to check the CE mark before buying it, as this ensures it has gone through safety processes.

GMFA remain committed to promoting HIV testing and to reducing the number of people who are living with undiagnosed HIV infection.

If you live in London, our friends at 56 Dean St provide a free home testing service for gay men living in England. You can access this service at:http://www.deanstreetathome.com/.

If you live elsewhere visit www.test.hiv and enter your postcode.

You can buy self-testing kits from Freedoms online here