How To Test Yourself For HIV Self-Testing

HIV Self-Testing

People may take a HIV self-test at home or in a private location, and the test result will be shown to them. The availability of HIV self-tests in the United States may assist raise awareness of HIV infection among those who would otherwise have no reason to get tested. CDC encourages health departments to consider HIV self-testing as an alternative testing strategy to reach persons most affected by HIV because self-tests are available for retail sale to consumers. If you are considering putting HIV self-testing in your program, the following findings and additional resources may be of assistance.

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Home Specimen Collection Kit

A medical home specimen kit may be used to detect HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Home collection kits are available for purchase by doctors and are typically covered by insurance plans. Laboratories that perform laboratory-grade testing for the panel of PrEP tests needed by those starting or continuing on PrEP have established protocols.

Samples are taken from fingers using a fingerstick or other suitable technique (e.g., self-collected swabs and urine) and sent to the patient’s home in specimen kits (e.g., Redi-Strips). The lab then sends the kit back to the clinician with test results, which are passed on to the doctor who acts based on them. This laboratory-based test is sensitive enough to identify recent HIV infections.

This Web page will be updated as more information on home specimen collection kits for HIV and other tests required for PrEP patients becomes available, including additional laboratories that offer this service.

Self-Testing for PrEP

CDC has published guidelines for offering PrEP in settings where in-person patient-clinician contact and facility-based services are limited. For patient protection, quarterly HIV testing should be maintained. When lab-only visits for the detection of HIV infection and other indicated tests to provide PrEP are not available or feasible, CDC suggests that people who test negative but have been exposed to the virus in the last six months can get either home specimen collection kits or oral swab-based self-testing.

Clinicians could consider the use of these tests when other options are not accessible. While HIV self-tests are typically not advised for PrEP patients due to their lower sensitivity in detecting recent HIV infections during PrEP usage, clinicians may consider utilizing them when other choices are unavailable.

A Summary of HIV Self-Testing Program Models and Lessons Learned

CDC-funded health departments (HDs) and community-based organizations (CBOs) in the United States were contacted by two capacity-building agencies (CBAs) funded by CDC: Denver Prevention Training Center (PTC) and Washington University St. Louis (WashU). From July through September 2020, the CBAs conducted 42 telephone discussions with 42 agencies (23 state HDs and 19 CBOs), gathering standard operating procedures and training materials for the HIVST.

HIV Self-Testing in the World

In 2016, the World Health Organization (WHO) released the first global recommendations on HIV self-testing, noting that it should be offered as an additional option to HIV testing services. The World Health Organization (WHO) also runs the worldwide research and policy centre for HIV self-testing. This monitoring aims to assess the global use of HIV self-tests.

Testing Beyond the Clinic Webinar Series

The Testing Beyond the Clinic webinar series was created to provide continuing education on non-clinic-based, self-collected HIV and STD testing procedures and program execution.

HIV testing is a way to prevent the spread of HIV infection. It helps identify people who may not know they are infected and allows them to get medical care for their condition, as well as take steps to protect others from infection (e.g., by practising safe sex or getting treatment if appropriate). This can reduce future infections in your community.


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