Free HIV testing
If you are at risk of HIV the NHS recommends annual HIV testing. In addtion, Public Health England recommend that gay men should test every three months if they regularly have unprotected sex with new partners. People who find out early that they have HIV live longer, healthier lives than those who find out late. About 1 in 20 gay men in London have undiagnosed HIV. Two thirds of those people actively believe they are not infected.
You can walk in for a free rapid HIV (AIDS) test at any time during our opening hours at Dean Street Express. Check in using the touchscreen. The service is totally confidential. You don't have to use your real name if you prefer. One of our friendly team will then see you to perform the HIV test. There is never any charge for your visit. The whole process will typically take less than one hour. Our service is usually quietest in the morning and busiest between 5 and 6:30pm.
Because we think that early diagnosis of HIV is so important we also offer outreach HIV testing in Soho's bars, gyms and saunas. Why not visit us at Sweatbox sauna (Ramillies Street, W1F 7LN) on Monday 4–9pm or in G-A-Y Bar (Old Compton Street, W1D) on Wednesday 3-6.30pm. We also run promotional campaigns to encourage those at risk to test.
HIV antibody/antigen test (DUO test)
This test looks for HIV itself (p24 antigen) as well as the immune system's reaction to infection (antibody). This means it detects HIV much sooner after infection than older tests. It can sometimes detect it as early as 2 weeks. By 4 weeks the test will pick up nearly everyone. The blood sample is sent to our laboratory and the result should be sent within 6 hours via text message (SMS).
Rapid HIV POCT test
This rapid HIV test is performed in the clinic and gives a result within 5 minutes. It uses a 'finger prick' sample of blood. The test checks for the immune system's reaction to HIV only (antibody). It will detect most infections within 6 weeks of exposure to HIV. Like all tests it can rarely give a 'false reactive' result. This happens about 7 times in every 1000 tests we do. If the test is reactive we will use a different rapid POCT test and send a sample to our laboratory to confirm the result.
Public Health England are the UK's leading experts in the performance of HIV tests. They advise that there is no test available guaranteed to pick up 100% of HIV infections before 3 months. If you want to legally exclude HIV infection, they advise you to test now and retest 3 months after any recent exposure.
Home HIV testing kits for gay men
56 Dean Street is being funded by HIV Prevention England to offer home HIV test kits to gay men.
We created Dean Street at Home to make testing for HIV more convenient for you, wherever you live in England. This NHS service is designed for gay men—it's free, simple and completely confidential:
- Order your free home testing kit straight away, or, if you want to find out your HIV risk you can take the questionnaire first
- The testing kit arrives at an address of your choice
- Return your testing kit in the freepost envelope provided
- 56 Dean Street contact you to discuss your result
You can choose between two HIV home tests: The mouth swab saliva test or the finger prick blood test. Both arrive in the post and are really simple and quick to do.