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FAQs - About your OraQuick HIV Self Test brought to you by BioSure

Read our FAQs to find out how the OraQuick HIV Self Test works, how and when to carry out the test and what to do once you have taken your test.

About your test.....

 

Picture of OraQuick HIV Self Test kit

Is an HIV Self Test the right choice for me? HIV self-testing is another testing choice and puts you in control. You may want to talk to someone before performing your HIV test or have someone with you while you do. Also consider what you are going to do when you get your result - whether positive or negative. It is always your choice.

How does my test work? The technology is very similar to a human pregnancy test but detects specific antibodies to HIV in your oral fluid sample. When your body detects something harmful (like a bacteria or a virus) your immune system starts to produce antibodies to try and defend your body. Each type of antibody is unique, and everybody makes them at different rates.

How accurate is the OraQuick Hiv Self Test? The OraQuick HIV Self Test is proven to be extremely effective at diagnosing HIV. Extensive research and advancements in technology have evidenced this kit to be exceptionally usable and tremendously accurate when performed correctly. 

  • The OraQuick HIV Self Test has proven accuracy of >99.7%.

  • It has a proven clinical sensitivity (if a person has HIV how often the test will be positive) of >99.9%, this means that on average 999 in every 1,000 positive results will be correct.

  • It has a proven clinical specificity (if a person doesn’t have HIV how often will the test be negative) of >99.8%, this means that on average 998 in every 1,000 negative results will be correct.

  • If you are at all unsure of your result you must go and see a healthcare professional to perform another test.

    Specificity and Sensitivity of the Ora Quick HIV Self Test diagram

    Important to note:
    DO NOT eat or drink for at least 15 minutes before you start the test or use mouth cleaning products 30 minutes before you start the test. 
    After 20 minutes your test will be completed, and you will be able to read your result. DO NOT read the result after 40 minutes.

    Why should I wait until 12 weeks after exposure to be sure of my negative result? Everybody makes antibodies at different rates and there needs to be antibodies in your oral fluid sample to be able to detect them. A negative result may not be accurate until 12 weeks after possible exposure because it can take your body that long to produce enough antibodies. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 4 weeks you should see your local healthcare professional who may be able to send a sample of your blood for a laboratory test.

    What is the ‘window period’? The time from when possible exposure to HIV occurs to when a test can correctly give a positive result is called the ‘HIV window period’ or ‘HIV test window period’. During this period, someone who has been exposed to HIV could still get a negative HIV test result because they may not have produced the antibodies needed to generate a positive result. This does not mean the person testing is negative. 4 weeks after exposure about half of people have made the antibodies, by 6 weeks after exposure this goes up to about 95%, however some people don't make these antibodies until up to 12 weeks after exposure. This is why it is so important not to rely on a negative test result until 12 weeks after your most recent possible exposure.

    I’m worried I have been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours. You need to visit a specialist HIV clinic or A&E department as soon as possible, where you may be able to access a course of PEP (anti HIV medication). Our test will not give you an accurate result only 72 hours after potential exposure.

    Performing your test......

     

    What is the OraQuick® HIV Self-Test?

    The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test is a private, and accurate way to test for HIV in your own home. It is the same test preferred by many healthcare professionals worldwide.

    The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test uses oral fluid to check for HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies. It can give you your own results in just 20 minutes, and if you follow the instructions carefully the test can detect HIV in over 99% percent of people who have been exposed to HIV. Because the test is a "screening" test, it is always advised to have a second test with a healthcare professional to confirm your results.

    The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test should only be used to test for HIV and should not be used for other purposes. If you need to be tested for pregnancy or for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or other infection, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider. They can help you get tested.

    How does an HIV antibody test work?

    An HIV antibody test detects the cells that the body's immune (defence) system creates in response to HIV exposure. When HIV enters the body, the body starts to produce antibodies. In the case of HIV, the antibodies can't fight off HIV. But, their presence can be used to tell whether a person has HIV in their body. Most HIV tests detect the presence of HIV antibodies, not the virus itself.

    How can the OraQuick® HIV Self-Test use oral fluid for HIV testing, when HIV can't be transmitted through saliva?

    The CDC has determined, and multiple supporting studies confirm, that HIV transmission (spread) does not occur through saliva. The OraQuick® test detects antibodies produced in response to HIV, not the virus itself.

    What are the advantages of rapid tests for HIV using oral fluids?

    Rapid HIV tests that use oral fluid are safe and accurate, and they provide quick results. They're a good option for people who don't like to have blood drawn or their fingers pricked. The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test also provides benefits like convenience and privacy.

    Rapid HIV tests that use oral fluid are safer for healthcare workers. The risk of exposure to infectious diseases is much lower from oral fluid than from blood. Contact with saliva has never been proven to result in the transmission (spread) of HIV.

    How soon should I get tested if I think I have been exposed to HIV?

    The OraQuick® HIV Self-Test can give you accurate results 12 weeks from exposure. Most people will develop antibodies to HIV within this period of time.

    If you test within 12 weeks of possible exposure and the result is negative, you may want to repeat the test at least 12 weeks after the possible exposure.

    97% of people develop antibodies within the first 12 weeks after exposure. In rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.

    If there is a need to test sooner, please contact a healthcare professional in your area.

    What could cause false positives on an HIV test?

    A false positive is when an HIV test shows that a person has HIV when they don't actually have it.

    Conditions that can lead to a false positive HIV test are:

    • Incorrectly reading the test as positive
    • Not following the instructions for use carefully
    • Not waiting 15 minutes after eating, drinking, or 30 minutes after using oral care products before taking the test
    • Having participated in a HIV vaccine clinical trial
    • Swiping each gum several times during oral collection

    If you have a positive test result you must get your result confirmed by a healthcare professional.

    Reading my result....

     

    How will I know if my test has run correctly? 
    All OraQuick HIV Self Test devices have an inbuilt sample control line to make sure you know that your test has been performed and run correctly. This means it must have the actual sample applied to the test in order for the control line to appear.

    There are many HIV self-tests that do not have this special in-built feature and will produce a clear control line even if no sample has been added. You will see this as a negative result which may actually be incorrect.

    Having a sample control line is the only way you can know that your test has been performed and run correctly. It is the only way to be confident in your result.

    How do I read my result?
    You can read your test result from 20 minutes after it has run, but do not read your result after 40 minutes as your result may not remain stable after this time.

    There are two lines that can appear on your test - the 'T' which is the Test Line and the 'C' which is the Control Line.

    The lines can vary in strength and it is super important that you read ANY LINE AS A LINE, no matter how faint.

    The window period is very important when relying on a negative result. A negative reualt within 12 weeks of possible explosure is encouraging but should not be relied upon. This is because your test detects antibodies to HIV (not the virus itself) and it may take your body up to 12 weeks to make these antibodies. You should always test again at 12 weeks after possible exposure.

    A positive test result is always a positive test result, regardless of the window period. If you have a positive test result you must get your result confirmed by a healthcare professional.

    If you have any doubts about your result or have any symptoms, you should visit
    your local healthcare professional.

    How do I know if my result is correct? 
    A positive test result can always be relied upon but a negative result within the first 12 weeks following possible exposure may not be accurate because you haven't produced antibodies yet. If you have any doubts about your result or have any symptoms, you should visit your local healthcare professional. If you are not sure of the exact timing of possible exposure, you should test again after 12 weeks.

    My test result is positive, what do I do now?  
    Firstly, don’t panic, HIV is treatable - remember HIV is 3 letters, not a sentence. Your OraQuick HIV Self Test, is extremely accurate but you must go and see a healthcare professional who will perform another test to confirm your result. The earlier diagnosis is made and treatment started, the better the outcomes. You can phone the NHS on 111 or use the postcode searcher to find your nearest Sexual Health Clinic. 

    My test result is negative, what do I do now? 
    Fantastic that you have taken control and Know Your Status.

    You must remember that from initial HIV exposure it can take up to 12 weeks for your body to produce enough antibodies for your test to give a positive result. 

    If you have any doubts about your result or have any symptoms, you should visit
    your local healthcare professional.

    Don't put yourself or others at risk based on your test result. Using condoms is an effective and easy way to protect your own and others sexual health.

    Choose to Stay Negative.

    How often should I test for HIV? 
    If you make choices that put you at an increased HIV risk exposure it is a good idea to test every 3 months

    How do I dispose of my test? 
    A disposal bag is included with your test.

    When you have finished you can put everything into this bag and throw it away with your usual household rubbish.

    No special precautions are necessary.

    Making sense?
    If you have questions about HIV self testing feel free to get in touch, we'll be glad to help info@biosure.co.uk

    You can also message us anonymously on Whatsapp: 07763 489170.

    There are thousands of stories and questions that you can have a look at or join the conversation, on a free and anonymous independent social enterprise site called PEBL.