How it works

What is the test like?

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

We usually offer both finger-prick blood tests and oral swab kits that involve swabbing your gums once.

Find out about the tests we offer, including what’s in the kit, how to use it and information about accuracy:

How much does it cost?

Test kits cost £15. You can pay by credit/debit card or Apple/Google Pay. Postage and packing is free.

In some areas, we are able to provide this service free of charge. We also have a limited number of free kits available for eligible users who can’t afford our special prices.

What support is available when I take the test?

If you feel like you need support while taking the test, you may want to have someone with you or do it at a time when our THT Direct helpline is open to take your call.

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 the company who will send out your test – Owen Mumford Ltd and their logistics partner for a blood test and Invitech Ltd for an oral swab test. They will only use this data to post you the testing kit and deal with any delivery enquiries. Please read Owen Mumford’s privacy policy and Invitech’s privacy policy for more information

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.

If you sign up for email reminders, we’ll use Charity Digital‘s email platform to send these. We use Twilio to send text messages to verify your mobile number and remind you to let us know your result.

For more information, see our terms and conditions.

How long will the test take to arrive?

Your test will be dispatched the next working day after you order and should be with you within a week of ordering. Please let us know if your kit hasn’t arrived after 14 days.

We send kits via Royal Mail.

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.

What if my result is positive or ‘reactive’?

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 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 also prevents 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.

Our helpline, THT Direct, will call you to check you have access to relevant services and answer any questions you have. If you need support or advice in the meantime, call THT Direct on 0808 802 1221. 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 this test to check I’m HIV negative before starting pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)?

It’s important to be sure that you’re HIV negative before you start taking PrEP.

The self test we provide through this site has a 12-week testing window. Blood tests that you send off to a lab and those available at sexual health clinics have a four-week testing window.

In practical terms, this means that a self test tells you what your HIV status was 12 weeks ago, while a lab test tells you what your status was four weeks ago.

If you’ve had unprotected sex since your last HIV test, make sure that you get tested again, either:

  • at least 12 weeks after unprotected sex if you’re using a self test, or
  • at least four weeks after unprotected sex if you’re getting your blood tested at a clinic or with a postal test that you send to a lab.

We recommend that you don’t delay starting PrEP, but visit your local sexual health clinic for a blood test or do a postal test you send to a lab to exclude HIV infection as soon as possible.

We don’t recommend starting PrEP if you have flu-like symptoms and may have recently been at risk of HIV (seroconversion).

Find out more about HIV testing and the different types of test.

Can I use the test if I’m on 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 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 control 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 our THT Direct helpline.

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Copyright 2022 © Terrence Higgins Trust is a registered charity in England and Wales (reg. no. 288527), company reg. no. 1778149 and a registered charity in Scotland (reg. no. SC039986). Registered office: 437 & 439 Caledonian Road, London, N7 9BG.