How does the test work?

It's similar to a home pregnancy test: you do the test yourself and see the result within a few minutes.

The test checks for HIV antibodies in a small sample of your blood. One line appears on the test to tell you it's working. If the antibodies are present, a second line appears. You do not need to send any part of the test back to us. The test can only be used once.

Watch Biosure's video to find out more about how the test works:

Is the test accurate?

Negative results using this test are 99.9% accurate, which means that on average 999 in every 1,000 negative results are correct. The test is CE marked, which means it complies with the essential requirements of relevant European health and safety regulations.

There is a small possibility of getting a positive result that, when tested again, is negative. This is called a false positive. On average, just 3 in every 1,000 positive test results will be incorrect.

That's why it's important that any positive result on this test is confirmed with a second blood test by a healthcare professional.

What support is available when I take the test??

If you feel like you need support while taking the test, you may want to consider having someone with you or doing it when THT Direct is open to take your call (Monday-Friday, 10am-8pm, on 0808 802 1221).

Will you pass my data to anyone else?

We pride ourselves on high levels of confidentiality and data security. We will share your name and address securely with Biosure UK, the company who will send out your test. They will only use this data to post you the testing kit.

If you are offered and choose to use Click and Collect for delivery, we will share your name and email address securely with HubBox, our Click and Collect partner. This data will be used to enable you to pick up your test.

We will not pass on your data to any other organisations.

What is the test kit like?

Biosure text kit box opened up

Your test will arrive in a discreet, unmarked package. The test box contains:

  • the test itself
  • a lancet (to safely and easily prick your fingertip)
  • a plaster
  • a disposal bag
  • information about the test and your result

How long will the test take to arrive?

The test should be with you within a few days of ordering and no longer than a week.

What if I think I was exposed to HIV in the last few days?

The test will be most accurate from three months after exposure to HIV. If you have had a recent exposure, it is still worth taking the test, but if the result is negative you should test after three months after the exposure or visit a sexual health clinic for a laboratory test that can detect HIV sooner.

The test will have a use-by date, so please make sure you use the test by this time.

If you have been exposed within the last 72 hours, you may be able to stop the virus taking hold by taking a course of Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). Check the Terrence Higgins Trust website for more details about PEP.

Can I order the test for someone else?

No, you may only order the test for your personal use and you may only order one test.

What if my result is positive?

Please let us know your result. The easiest way to do this is using the link in your order confirmation email. You can also visit the result page. We'll then be able to help you get the support you need.

You should also contact your local sexual health clinic or doctor. On average, 997 in every 1,000 positive results are correct. Your doctor or clinic will conduct a second test and, if this confirms that you have HIV, they will provide advice on starting treatment and living well with HIV.

Knowing you are HIV positive helps you take measures to control the virus. The sooner you are on treatment, the better it is for your health. Effective treatment can also prevent you from passing the virus on to anyone else.

A person with HIV who is taking treatment and has an undetectable viral load cannot pass on HIV. It can sometimes take up to six months on treatment for someone to become undetectable. Until then you should use condoms to avoid passing on HIV.

THT Direct will call you to check you have access to relevant services and answer any questions you may have. If you need support or advice in the meantime, call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221 between 10am and 8pm, Monday to Friday. You can also search for Terrence Higgins Trust services near you.

What if my result is negative?

It's important that you let us know your result in order to help us evaluate the success of this service. The easiest way to do this is using the link in your order confirmation email. You can also visit the result page.

For the vast majority of people, a negative result is accurate. However, if you were exposed to HIV within the past three months, the test may still give a negative result as it takes time for the HIV antibodies to build up (this is known as the window period).

If you are worried about an exposure in the last three months you should repeat the test at least three months after the potential exposure happened or visit a sexual health clinic for a laboratory test that can detect HIV sooner. It is important to test regularly, especially if you change sexual partners. Take the It Starts With Me quiz to get an idea of how often you should test.

Can I use the test if I'm on treatment for HIV?

The test is designed for people who don't know their HIV status. If you know you are HIV positive, there is no need to take the test. If you are on antiretroviral therapy, you may not have enough HIV antibodies in your blood for the test to work and could see a negative result. This would not mean you no longer have HIV. Treatment does not cure HIV, it only reduces the amount of virus in your body and so it's important not to stop treatment or miss doses.

Can I use the test if I'm on pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?

There is some evidence that HIV self tests may not work as well for people who are taking HIV medication (either for treating HIV, for PrEP or for PEP).

There is currently no data available on how the Biosure HIV self test will perform if you're on PrEP and there is a chance that it may not work correctly. Until more is known about this we advise people on PrEP not to rely on the result of an HIV self test but to visit a sexual health clinic for a laboratory test.

What if my test didn't work?

If your self test didn't work (for example, if the first line on the test did not appear), then please let us know. The easiest way to tell us is using the result link in your confirmation email but you can also visit the result page directly.

If you have any further questions, please contact THT Direct on 0808 802 1221. The phone line is open between 10am and 8pm, Monday to Friday.

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Information Standard Last reviewed: 21/06/2016
Next review: 21/06/2019