Why should you get tested?
It is important to find out early if you have contracted HIV in order to receive better care and treatment. Detecting and treating one’s HIV early also contributes to reducing the spread of HIV, as treated HIV is not transmitted through sex.
The way the test works is by detecting antibodies against HIV. This means that you cannot get a reliable answer if you test yourself immediately after the moment of risk as it can take a few weeks for antibodies to form.
If the test result is negative (meaning that you are not infected), you will come back later for a final test.
From experience, we know that taking the plunge can relieve both worry and anxiety. Even if not enough time has passed since the moment of risk, it can feel good to take a test, sit and talk and get some answers to the questions you might have. Especially if you have never had an HIV test before or if it has been a long time since you last tested yourself.
Early diagnosis is important
Discovering that you have contracted HIV at an early stage is both medically and psychologically beneficial for you and your future. Early diagnosis means you can get help to be able to live a long and healthy life as soon as possible. It also contributes to reduced spread of HIV, because treated HIV is not transmitted during sex.
How does an HIV test work?
An HIV test is a blood sample taken in the armpit or through a finger prick test. A sample taken in the armpit is sent to a laboratory for analysis and you will receive the answer after about a week. A sample taken from the finger, a so-called quick answer HIV test, is analyzed directly in the test room and you get the result after about 20 minutes.
When can I trust a negative test result?
The quick answer HIV test use reacts to antibodies against HIV, which, in the vast majority of people, can be detected between three to six weeks after the time of infection. Only after eight weeks from the time of infection can the result be seen as absolutely reliable. If you take the test in the crease of your arm, the result is absolutely reliable after six weeks.
Here is where you can test yourself for free in Västra Götaland:
- Gay health/gender clinic Sahlgrenska hospital
- The infection department of the Östra sjukhuset
- Local health Sexualmedicinskt centrum