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How soon can someone get tested for HIV? Is a general test from a GP different to a 'rapid' test?

Hi, thanks for your question. Generally speaking, 3 months is the maximum amount of time it can take for HIV to be detected by a test, although tests will sometimes be able to detect HIV earlier than this. Many GPs will test for HIV antibodies and HIV antigens at the same time when doing an HIV screen. The rapid test that we use at aTEST only tests for HIV antibodies. The rapid test is still very effective at detecting HIV. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Is the urethral swab used anymore?

Hi, thanks for your question. Urethral swabs are only usually collected as part of an STI screen if you have symptoms of an STI, such as discharge. STIs screens for gay men should include a throat and rectal swab, a urine sample and a blood test. An STI screen for straight men is usually just a urine sample. For women it is usually just a urine sample and vaginal swab. A doctor will sometimes perform a blood test as well. If you’d like to know more about testing, including where to get tested, you can call the Sexual Health Inforlink on 1800 451 624. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch again!

Hello, I have a question and I need an answer from a top expert like you, if possible of course. I had the following situation. I had an episode where no sex but a woman of unknown HIV status touched her underwear with her hand (assuming she was wet because we were playing with each other) , and then touched the head of my penis with that hand. Is there any HIV transmission risk? Do I need testing?

Hi, thanks for your question. In terms of HIV risk, what you have described is safe. For someone to contract HIV, fluid (such as blood, semen or vaginal fluid) containing a high enough quantity of the virus needs to enter the blood stream, either through an opening to the body (such as a cut), or through mucous membranes. Your partner touching her underwear and then touching your penis is therefore safe in terms of HIV risk. In terms of testing, it’s a good idea to get tested every 6 – 12 months. Most STIs are very easy to treat so are not generally a big deal! If you’d like to know more about where you can get tested you can contact the Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624. If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch again!

First, I wanna know the generation in Atest during the blood test. Second, there are many views about window period, more and more professionals believe 4~6 weeks can make sure the result is right , why atest still keep saying 3 months? Third, for gay men, is there any difference related to window period compared to normal people?

Hi, thanks for your question. At aTEST we use the Uni-Gold Rapid HIV test to screen for HIV antibodies. We offer parallel blood tests at the same time –this allows us to quickly confirm any reactive rapid test result but also provides a chance to detect someone who may be seroconverting and not have shown up reactive on the rapid test. The laboratory test used is 4th generation HIV antigen/antibody combo Abbot architect with 6 week window period. Window periods are based on the test used and the laboratory advise. For lab tests the window period is printed on the test results and not determined by the a[TEST] staff. For the rapid HIV test it is based on the manufactures recommendations and independently funded research studies. As for your last question, the window period is the same for everyone, regardless of sexuality or gender! If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to get in touch!

Hi, first of all, thank you for having this website which provides so many important informations. My question is, can non- Australian from overseas buy HIV treatment medicines? If yes, where and how much please? Your answer means a lot to me. Thank you.

Hi, thanks for your questions and glad to hear you found the Ending HIV site helpful! There are a number of ways that non-Australians can access HIV treatment.   For free HIV treatment, you may be able access HIV medication on compassionate grounds. In NSW, some sexual health services and local health districts work with pharmaceutical companies to make HIV treatment available on compassionate grounds for people who do not have Medicare. Applications are considered on a case by case basis and your doctor will usually need to say that there are special circumstances preventing you from accessing treatment in another way. This is often short term until other arrangements can be made. If you’d like more information get in touch with Positive Life: 02 9206 2177 ( or NAPWHA: 1800 259 666 (, two great organisations who have staff with lots of knowledge around this.   Non-Australians with reciprocal healthcare agreements under Medicare can also purchase subsidised HIV medications in Australia. Medicare subsidises the cost of ‘necessary and life-saving’ medicines. Most HIV medications are subsidised. However, subsidised medicines are only available to Australian citizens/residents and to visitors from countries with which Australia has a reciprocal healthcare agreement. You’ll need to find out whether your country has an agreement with Australia. Proof of residence or nationality may be required.   If your country does not have an agreement, then you’ll either need to purchase the medications unsubsidised from an Australian pharmacy or order them online from overseas. Unsubsidised HIV medications are very, very expensive, so if you have a permanent address you’re better off ordering them online. You’d still need a doctor’s prescription, so would need to pay for the consultation (which would cost around $75 or more). Contact either of the above orgs for more info.   Continuing your HIV treatments while in Australia is super important for your own health, so it’s awesome to see you’re finding out the best way to access them.   If you have any further questions don’t hesitate to contact us here.

Hi, can you offer free hapetitis tests?

Hi, thanks for your question. Tests for Hepatitis A, B, C are available at sexual health clinics and GPs. They are free from sexual health clinics (with or without Medicare), and also generally free from GPs if you have Medicare. You can find out more about where to get tested by calling the Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624. There are also very effective vaccines which protect you from Hep A and B. If you haven’t been vaccinated, make sure you ask the doctor or nurse when you go to get tested. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any further questions!

I need to anonymously notify someone who I had unprotected sex with that they should get an HIV test.

Hi, thank you for your question. You can let your sexual partners know anonymously via text through the let them know website:

i has a rapid test recently and the blood test is this an antigen test as well as antibody

Hi, thank you for your question. In Australia most labs test for HIV antibodies and p24 antigen. This means it is very likely that your test was both an antigen and antibody test. If you would like more information about testing please visit our website:

i had an unprotected sex with my partner. after 3 days, i had my regular test and got positive rectal chalm.trachomatis. then i told him and he had a test after that. today he got his results that are all negative. so i just wonder that is possible? because i only had sex with him. hence i got positive results, however he got negative ones. i completely get confused and feel wired. i dont know how i got infected? anything can explain this. btw i am bottom.

Hi, thank you for your question. Without knowing more information about your sexual history and the sexual history of your partner it is too hard to say what has happened here. If you really want to know, the best thing to do would be to have a discussion with your sexual partner and then a discussion with your medical practitioner. Seeing as you have been diagnosed with chlamydia, there are a few key things to remember. Firstly, don’t have sex while you are on treatment (anti-biotics) as it is very likely that you will pass it on to your sexual partner. Secondly, it is important not to have sex for at least seven days following the completion of your treatment.