Test at home for HIV

We offer safe and confidential options to self-test for HIV infection, with experts on hand to help you understand your results.

Choose your HIV test

We offer lab or home testing for HIV. Find out how each test works below.

Image of Fettle blood test kit and packaging.

HIV lab test

£27.00

Lab results within 72 hours from a small sample of blood.
INSTI-HIV test

Insti HIV test

£19.50

Rapid testing and results in a few minutes from 1 drop of blood.

How do HIV self-test kits work?

We offer two options for HIV testing. The Insti HIV test gives faster results, but some people prefer to have their results checked by a lab.

Lab test

For this test, wait 7 weeks after unprotected sex for the most accurate results.

Use the small lancet to prick your finger and collect about 16 drops of blood (0.8ml). Send your sample to our lab using the prepaid return package for results in 72 hours.

All our lab blood tests can be done with the same blood sample. So you can easily test for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and C with just 1 finger-prick blood sample.

INSTI-HIV test

Insti HIV test

For this test, wait 12 weeks after unprotected sex for the most accurate results.

Prick your finger with a small lancet to collect one drop of blood. Using a testing solution, you’ll see your results within a few minutes.

HIV: the basics

When to test for HIV

HIV can take some weeks to show up in a test from the time of infection. This is known as a ‘window period.'

  • For the lab test, wait 7 weeks (45 days) before testing

  • For the Insti test, wait 3 to 12 weeks (21-84 days) before testing.

If you’re not sure when you might have been exposed to HIV, do a test now and another after the window period. Our clinicians can help you work out when to test again.

Symptoms of HIV

HIV can cause flu-like symptoms a few weeks after infection. After this, people living with HIV may live symptom free for years. As HIV develops, the immune system becomes weaker. This can become serious, making it hard to fight common infections. 

People living with HIV are more likely to develop some cancers. In its final stage, HIV infection will develop into AIDS. Common infections could become fatal, as the body is too weak to fight them off.

Choosing your test

The Insti test gives you results in a few minutes and only uses 1 drop of blood.  However, the window period is longer (12 weeks) and you need to be comfortable doing the test and reading the results. You might want the support of a friend or family member when you do the test, or be happy to do it by yourself.

The lab test is processed in a lab. It does need a bit more blood for the sample (16 drops) but the window period is shorter (7 weeks). It's a good option if you do not feel comfortable processing and reading the result.

Whichever test you choose, our clinical team will be on hand with help and support. Reply to any text message from Fettle to get in touch.

Understanding HIV results

Our HIV home tests check for HIV antibodies in your blood. You’ll get a negative result or a reactive result.

Reactive means that you may have the infection. But is it not the same as a positive result. We need to confirm the diagnosis with another test, done at a clinic. If your result is reactive, one of our clinicians will call you to explain the next steps and help arrange a test. This is a normal part of HIV testing, whether you test at home or in a clinic. And many reactive results turn out to be negative.

Treatment for HIV

Modern treatment options mean most people living with HIV have a long and healthy life. Most treatments involve antiviral medications. These don’t cure HIV but can reduce the level of virus in your blood to ‘undetectable’ levels.

This means you can’t pass on HIV to other people. HIV treatment works best when it's started straight after diagnosis.

Helen Burkitt, Senior Sexual Health Nurse at SH:24
Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Reviewed by Dr Paula Baraitser. Medical Director

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