RAPID HIV TESTING FOR GAY MEN
FAST, FREE AND CONFIDENTIAL!
Rapid HIV Testing is currently available at numerous sites in many states and territories around Australia. More sites are likely to become available in these and other states and territories so if there is not currently a site near you, it is worth checking from time to time.
In some locations you can drop in if you’re in the neighbourhood but it’s usually best to make an appointment – to make sure they’re going to be open (not all operate during regular business hours) and to check they’re able to fit you in on a particular day.
About HIV Rapid Testing
There are two different types of HIV rapid tests. One collects oral fluids, the other involves a fingerprick. Both are very efficient at detecting HIV antibodies which are present if you have HIV.
Rapid testing identifies a small percentage of false positive results (suggesting you have HIV when you do not) so all HIV-positive rapid test results are considered preliminary. Additional to your rapid test, you will usually be given a blood test which will be sent to the laboratory to confirm or overrule the initial result. You will always be given a blood test to confirm results if your rapid HIV tests suggests you are HIV-positive. The results of the lab test will be available within a week.
Like laboratory based HIV tests, rapid HIV tests have a window period. The window period is the period between the onset of HIV infection and the appearance of detectable antibodies to the virus. Whilst most people will produce antibodies to HIV in around six weeks from infection, the window period for rapid tests is three months. This means that if you have had a recent exposure to HIV, the rapid test may not detect an infection.
For more information on Rapid HIV Testing, go to the all about HIV testing section of this site.
What Are The Possible Results Of A Rapid Test?
There are three types of results that you could get from a Rapid HIV test:
- Non-reactive – HIV antibodies were not detected in the sample. It’s important to note that people in the “window period” might also receive a non-reactive result.
- Reactive – HIV antibodies were detected in the sample. This result needs to be confirmed with laboratory based blood testing. As rapid HIV tests are very sensitive, a reactive response can be triggered by a number of things that are not HIV related. If a reactive response occurs, there is a small chance that this reactive response is a false response (not related to HIV).
- Invalid – There is a small possibility that the rapid test may show an invalid response. This result is not an indication of a person’s HIV status. In this situation a person will be offered a repeat rapid test.
Where Can I Get a Rapid HIV Test?
You can search for testing services in you area on the Where to Test page, and look for services indicating they offer rapid HIV testing with this symbol:
Otherwise, you can find a full list of locations that offer rapid HIV testing around the country here.