As its World AIDS Day tomorrow, we thought we would ask you about what questions you had about HIV testing.  Here are some of the frequent ones:

Q. How Instant is an Instant or Rapid HIV test?

A. Instant HIV testing has come a long way.  Many of our clinics now use a test this is over 99% accurate from just 26 days after potential exposure.   This test takes 20 minutes to run, and usually you will be asked to wait in the reception room.  Other tests for which you have to wait at least 90 days can give a result in less than a minute.  This includes the Insti – which is a brand of HIV test – and yes other types are available, which is why we say we do a rapid HIV test.

Q. Can I do an HIV test in the post?

A. There are two types of home testing: tests where you get your HIV result at home are illegal in the UK.  However they are available over the counter in the US (since Spring 2012).  In the US they use a saliva test which is less accurate than a blood test.  Better2Know does not do this type of home testing as it is illegal.

Q. How soon can I have an HIV test?

A. From ten days after any potential exposure with our Early Detection Screen.  We also have the HIV-Duo test from 28 days after potential exposure, and rapid HIV testing starts from 26 days.

Q. How accurate is the HIV test?

A. There is no more accurate test on the market than those offered by Better2Know.  However, no biological test is 100% accurate.  Researchers don’t talk about accuracy of HIV tests: they look at two things: one that the test picks up any virus and tests positive, and then that the test picks up the HIV virus and identifies it. If you put these things together, from 10 days there is a 96% chance of the test finding anything and it is HIV and this increases to 99.8% at 28 days, and 99.9% at 90 days.  There is a chance that a test can be positive, but not for HIV – when this happens all our tests are automatically checked again using three different methods, so before you get an HIV positive result you know that it has tested positive four different ways.

If you have any other questions please phone Better2Know on the number above.  Better2Know is donating to the Terrence Higgins Trust for every HIV test we book from now until 9 December 2012.




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