HIV Self Testing


What is HIV self-testing

HIV self-testing is a process whereby a person collects his or her own sample and conducts an HIV test

Is HIV self-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

What HIV self-tests are available

At present, there are two types of HIV self-test kits available, which detect the HIV virus using either a blood or oral fluid (saliva) sample.
Sample used Blood Saliva
How samples are collected Finger prick Oral swab
Time to result interpretation 1 minute 20 minutes

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

HIV can be transmitted through contact with blood, vaginal and rectal fluids and breast milk from an infected person. HIV is not found and cannot be spread through urine, sweat or saliva. HIV self-tests detect if your body has been previously exposed to HIV. If it has, your body will have produced antibodies specific 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.

How do I conduct an HIV self-test

For HIV self-tests using a blood sample, you will be required to conduct a quick finger-prick to obtain a blood sample and conduct the test according the manufacturer’s instructions found in the test pack. For self-tests using a saliva sample, you will be required to swab your gums with the provided sample collection kit and conduct the test according to the manufacturer’s instructions found in the test pack. All the approved HIV self-test kits come with simple and clear instructions on how to test yourself and interpret the results. In case you are not sure of the instructions, you should contact the provider who issued you with the test kit or any health provider at nearest health facility. You can also view instructions on how to take either the blood or oral HIV self-test at

What should I do if I test HIV positive

If you interpret a HIV positive result, it is important that you have this result confirmed by a health provider before concluding that your HIV status is truly positive. You can visit the place you obtained the test kit who can refer you to a health facility or visit any health facility or VCT centre where a confirmatory test will be conducted. A list of sites that can conduct a confirmatory test is available at

What should I do if I test HIV negative

Remember that it can take up to 3 months after exposure to HIV for a test to detect it. 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 be at risk of HIV infection, you should continue to re-test every 3 months. You should also talk to your health provider about other HIV prevention options such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). You can contact a health provider or visit a health facility of VCT centre, or call the one2one toll free hot line number 1190 if you are unsure or need further information

How reliable are HIV self-tests

When used according to the manufacturer’s instructions provided, both the blood and oral HIV self-tests are over 99% accurate

Where can I get an HIV self-test kit

Quality assured HIV self-test kits are available at selected pharmacies including Green Cross and Pharmnet branded pharmacies. You can also view a list of pharmacies online at

How do I know the HIV self-test kit I have purchased is quality-assured

If you have purchased an HIV self-test kit, you can determine its authenticity by calling the one2one toll-free number 1190 of visiting All HIV self-test kits available at any Green Cross or Pharmnet branded pharmacies are internationally approved and quality-assured.

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 positive result, the test must be confirmed at a health facility.

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 refuse to take a HIV test or stop the procedure at any time if you feel not ready to know your status. You should report to the police if anyone forces you to take a test or tests you without your consent.

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

You can visit the nearest health facility or call the one2one toll free hotline number 1190


Testing for HIV is the only way to be sure your HIV status; HIV self-testing allows you to do this in private and in your own time An initial positive result must be confirmed by a qualified healthcare provider