Sexual Wellness

HIV Test Kit: A Reliable And Safe Way Of Self-Testing

4 min read

It is a well-known fact that unprotected sex puts you at risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections (STIs). While most STIs can get treated with prompt medical intervention, some infections like HIV are deadly. Caused by the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV attacks and weakens the immune system ultimately leading to AIDS. If you are someone who indulges in unprotected sex, then you must get tested for HIV every year. In this article, we'll talk about HIV testing kits and how they can be used at home.

Introducing HIV/AIDS

HIV is a viral infection, whose symptoms can be as general as fever, headache, mouth ulcers, sore throat, diarrhoea, weight loss, cough, and night sweats. Therefore, the diagnosis is made through an ELISA test for HIV using a blood or oral fluid sample.

HIV testing is majorly recommended for people who are at higher risk of infection, such as those who:

  • Have intercourse without condoms.
  • Have multiple sexual partners.
  • Share their needles for injecting drugs.

However, the stigma associated with the diseases makes people hesitant to get tested. Worry no more! With the introduction of HIV home testing kits, people can get tested for this deadly disease in the comfort of their homes.

HIV Home Testing Kits

The at-home HIV test kits provide rapid HIV testing from the safety and convenience of your home. They are safe, easy to use and interpret, and just require a sample of your saliva or blood. You can get to know the results within 20 to 30 minutes.

The steps to follow for a home-testing HIV kit include:

  • Collect a throat swab or blood sample as shown in the instructions present on the back of the testing kit.
  • Put the swab sample into the provided solution or the blood sample in the small test well given in the kit.
  • Wait for a period of 20 to 30 minutes and the results will be indicated in terms of single or double lines on the apparatus.

How Does The At-Home Test Kit Work?

These test kits checks for HIV antibodies which are the proteins formed by the body in response to the virus. The test kit is decently reliable and sensitive enough to detect HIV antibodies.

According to Dr Daxay Lakhani, a urologist associated with Apollo 24|7, “the reliability of HIV test kit depends mainly upon two things; type of test kit and the time duration of test after suspected exposure. Commonly used 4th generation test kit has accuracy of around 97% at 1 month and 99.7% at 3 months.”

What To Do If The Self-Test Comes Positive?

Even if the test comes out to be positive, further testing is advisable in labs to confirm your diagnosis. Note that if you have already taken preventive medicines for HIV infection, your test results might be false positive. Consult your doctor for more information.

As per Dr Daxay Lakhani, “It’s always better to discuss the HIV test result with a consultant instead of being in unnecessary fear and depression.” 

What To Do If The Self-Test Comes Negative?

If you test negative but think you could have been exposed to high-risk situations, consider pre-exposure prophylaxis medicine. The HIV test kits are not reliable in detecting early HIV infection (until three months after infection). Talk to your doctor to know what is best for you.

Book Apollo's HIV Test


1. Are at-home HIV test kits reliable?

Yes, they are highly reliable as they are made as per authority standards with appropriate calibration and validation. However, lab testing is necessary to confirm the diagnosis.

2. Do I still need to visit labs after self-testing?

Yes, in any of the inferences, a physician's consultation is always important.

3. When should I use the at-home HIV test kit?

If you feel you have been exposed to any of the risk factors, you may take the test.

4. Would anybody know if I have used the at-home HIV test kit?

No, these are completely private test kits and nobody else is updated about your results.

5. What is the price of an at-home HIV test kit in India?

The at-home HIV test kits are affordable (INR 400 to 1000) and can be purchased at a pharmacy nearby.

Screening for HIV infection is crucial to restrict its spread and protect your health. It aids in receiving immediate and effective treatment if you have tested positive. At-home HIV test kits are easy to use, reliable, and can be used for initial screening. Consult a doctor and consider getting yourself tested if you have been exposed to high-risk conditions.

Consult Dr Daxay Lakhani


Medically reviewed by Dr Sonia Bhatt.


Sexual Wellness

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