How to use a Home HIV Test kit

If you can order a meal online from the comfort of your home and have it delivered steaming hot at your doorstep, then you should be able to do some home testing like say, HIV, right? I am positive that there are people out there who would like to know their HIV status but are too afraid to visit VCT centres. That’s when you need a Home HIV test kit.

My husband recently got his hands on a couple of Be Self Sure HIV Testing kits and I thought it would be great to share my experience with you guys. It was easy to follow the instructions as you’ll see in the video below, and there was plenty of useful information in the kit some of which I’ll also share in this post.

All About HIV Self Testing

What is HIV Self- testing?

This is the process in which a person collects his or her own specimen (oral fluid or blood) and then performs an HIV test and interprets the result, often in a private setting, either alone or with someone he or she trusts.

HIV Self Testing does not provide a definitive HIV-positive diagnosis. All reactive (positive)self-test results need to be confirmed by a trained tester using a validated national testing algorithm.

Non-reactive (negative)self-test results are considered negative. However, in accordance with existing WHO HIVST guidance individuals who may have been exposed to HIV in the past 6 weeks and those at high on-going risk (such as key populations) are advised to retest.

Is HIV-testing the right option for me?

An HIV test is the only way of knowing your HIV status. This is important in making informed choices about your health and lifestyle.

HIV self-testing allows you to test yourself privately and at your own convenience. HIV self-tests are not suitable for those who are taking anti-retrovirals (ARVs). If you think you have been exposed to HIV or are at risk of infection, HIV self-testing offers an opportunity for you to determine your status.

Which HIV self-test kits are available

At present, there ate two types of HIV self-test kits available, which detect the HIV virus using either blood or oral fluid (saliva) sample.

How reliable are HIV self-test Kits

When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions provided, both the blood and oral HIV self-tests are accurate.

Where can I get an HIV self-test Kit?

Approved HIV self-test kits are available in the public and private health facilities as well as in select Pharmacies. You can also visit www.beselfsure.org for more information

How do I conduct an HIV self-test?

Follow instructions as provided by the manufacturer and the service provider.

What should I do if my test result is reactive (positive)?

A positive self-test result always requires further testing and confirmation from a trained tester. It is important that you go for a HIV test at a facility offering HIV Testing aServices to know.

What should I do if I test HIV negative

Remember that it can take up to 3 months after exposure to HIV for detect HIV infection. Therefore if you were exposed to HIV less than 3 months ago, you need to test again after 4 weeks to be sure that your status is truly negative.

However, if you have not been exposed to HIV over the past 3 months and you conducted the test as instructed, then it is highly likely a negative result means you do not have HIV. If you continue to re-test every 3 months. You should also talk to a health provider about other HIV prevention options.

If HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, why use oral fluids (saliva) to test HIV?

HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, urine or sweat. The virus can be transmitted through contact with blood, vaginal and rectal fluids as well as breast milk from an infected person.

HIV self-test detect if your body has been previously exposed to HIV to defend itself against the virus. These antibodies can be detected from oral fluids as well as in blood. The HIV self-test does not detect the actual virus.

Can my partner and I test as a couple? If so, what will happen if one of us  tests HIV positive?

You and your partner can test together in your privacy. Each of you should use separate test kits and conduct the test as indicated in the instructions provided. If any of you interpret a reactive (positive) result, you must visit a HIV Testing service provider at the facility/community for a HIV test.

I’m HIV Positive, Can I use the HIV Self-Testing kit to test my child?

You should never use the HIV self-test kit on babies. For children, it is recommended to take them to the health facility for HIV testing.

What should I do if someone wants to force me to take a test?

The HIV prevention and control Act 2006 prohibits compulsory testing and therefore HIV testing without your consent is illegal! You have the right to take a HIV test or stop the procedure at any time if you feel not ready to know your status.

Where can I get more information on HIV prevention, care and treatment?

You can visit the nearest health/community facility or call the helpline for more information. You can also visit www.beselfsure.org

How to use a Home HIV Test kit

What’s in the Home HIV Test Kit

  • 3 bottles labelled 1,2 &3
  • Test Device Pouch
  • Lancet

Directions

Preparation

Start with dry clean hands

  1. Open test device pouch
  2. Place test device on a flat surface
  3. Remove cap of Bottle 1 (Red) and place it on a flat surface

Step 1: Collect Blood

  1. Twist off the lancet tip and put aside
  2. Rub finger until warm
  3. Place the lancet on the side of the finger tip
  4.  Let 1 drop fall into Bottle 1
  5. Twist on the cap of Bottle 1

Step 2: Test

  1. Shake the red bottle 4 times before pouring all the liquid into the test device pouch
  2. Take Bottle 2 (Blue) and shake it 4 times and pour all liquid into the test device
  3. Shake the last bottle (3) 4 times and pour all the liquid into the device

Step 3: Read Results

Negative: Only one dot appear. If negative, test again in 3 months

Positive: 2 dots no matter how faint one is. Go to clinic for confirmatory testing

Invalid: The test is invalid if there are no dots. In this case, go to a clinic for confirmatory testing.

Disposal

  1. Put all items back into the pouch
  2. Throw away pouch in waste bin
  3. Dispose in accordance to local regulations

 

If your test is positive, call 1190 or sms ‘ST’ to 1190 for immediate assistance or go to the nearest health facility for a confirmatory HIV test.

There you go. If you have any questions on how to use a Home HIV test kit, let us know in the comments section.

See Also: I’m Selfish

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