Free HIV testing
If you are at risk of HIV we recommend regular HIV testing. We know that earlier HIV diagnosis means fewer complications. About 1 in 4 people with HIV do not know they have it. 1 in 20 gay men in London have undiagnosed HIV. Two thirds of those people believe they are not infected.
You are welcome to pop in to the main clinic at any time for an HIV test. You may also wish to be tested in one of our specific services or in one of our outreach clinics.
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 takes 3 working days.
Rapid HIV POCT test
POCT means ‘point of care test’. This test is performed in the clinic and gives a result within 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 1,000 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.
The Health Protection Agency 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. As per UK guidelines, an additional HIV test should be offered to all persons at 3 months (12 weeks) to definitively exclude HIV infection.