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FAQs - About your BioSURE HIV Self Test
Read our FAQs to find out how the BioSURE 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.....
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 blood 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 my BioSURE HIV Self Test? Our test is proven to be extremely effective at diagnosing HIV. Extensive research has evidenced our kit to be exceptionally usable and tremendously accurate when performed correctly.
- It has a proven clinical sensitivity (if a person has HIV how often the test will be positive) of 99.7%, this means that on average 997 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 99.9%, this means that on average 999 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.
Why should I wait until 3 months after exposure to be sure of my negative result? Everybody makes antibodies at different rates and there needs to be antibodies in your blood sample to be able to detect them. A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after infection 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 go to 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 HIV infection 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 infected with 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 infection. This is why it is so important not to rely on a negative test result until 3 months 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......
I can’t find my buffer pot. It is in the end of the device. You need to pull it out of the end and place in the round hole in the box.
The buffer pot won’t fit into the hole. It needs to be foil side up to fit in the hole.
Will using the lancet hurt? Not really, it's a very fine gauge needle because you only need a tiny drop of blood. Top tip - it is best to use the sides of the tip of your finger as there are less nerve endings there.
Does it matter which finger I get the blood from? No, the blood will be the same from whichever finger you get it from.
How does the tip automatically fill up? The patented design of the BioSURE HIV Self Test device means the blood sample is taken into the tip automatically by capillary action.
My test hasn’t started to run. Make sure the device tip is fully pushed into the buffer bottle right the way to the bottom. The test can only run when the tip is fully inserted. Push the device down firmly until it will go no further.
Why does the test have to stand up? Because the buffer and sample solution has to run up the test strip contained within the device. The test may not run properly if it is laying down, but if the top (control line) doesn't appear you'll know it hasn't worked.
What happens if my test falls over while it is running? It shouldn't affect your test but stand it up as soon as possible.
Reading my result....
My completed test won’t fit securely in the Results section of the box. Leave the buffer pot on your test device, it will then fit snugly into the cut out shape in the box.
I can’t see any results. Make sure the blue wording is facing towards you when you place the test device into the cut out shape in the box.
How do I dispose of my test? To protect your privacy a sealable, opaque polythene bag is included with your test. Place all the components back into the box, place this into the bag and seal. You can throw the bag away discreetly with your usual rubbish.
How will I know if my test has run correctly? All BioSURE HIV Self Test devices have an inbuilt sample control line to make sure you know that your test has been performed and run correctly. If there are no lines on your test and you have definitely pushed the tip right down to the bottom then something hasn't worked properly and you will need to test again with a new device.
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 3 months following your exposure incident may not be accurate because you haven't produced antibodies yet. There is more information here. 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 the risk incident, you should test again after 3 months.
My test result says ‘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 BioSURE 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 says ‘My test result is negative’. What do I do now? You must remember that from initial HIV infection it can take up to 3 months 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 HIV symptoms you should contact a healthcare professional who can perform another test. 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