Should You Test at Home For HIV Using a HIV Home Test Kit

Should You Test at Home For HIV Using a HIV Home Test Kit

HIV Using a HIV Home Test Kit

As vendors of rapid test kits to the Australian market we are often asked about the suitability of self-testing versus supervised testing. The position of Head Start Testing is that while we firmly believe in the ability and practicality of self-testing for HIV, this methodis not for everyone. 

Using an home test kit provides for convenience with your hiv test, privacy for your hiv test and certainly facilitates hiv testing in many individuals who will put off or not test at all through a medical hiv testing centre. However by using hiv home test kits you are bypassing valuable medical supervisions , a service that not all, but certainly some individuals find essential to the testing phase. 

One question that uncovers both sides of the argument of whether it is wise for an individual to be left to deal with the initial stages of an HIV positive result is.. 

I sit better to risk finding out you have HIV without the valuable assistance of a counsellor then to not test and to potentially carry the virus and infect others. The answer is within one fact. 

With absolute certainty, AIDS clinics are full of patients who were infected by a person who knew they had potentially been exposed, but put off or avoided testing and then went on to infect them. The percentage who would not have tested if they had been given an easier and more private method is unknown, but whatever it is we feel it is enough to justify the possible negative effects an unsupervised tester will face when first confronted with an HIV positive result, Of course they will certainly then seek medical supervision but none the less the interim period will be stressful. 

Our message is simple. More testing saves lives. We know more counselling improves lives, but more testing, through whatever method will actually save lives. If we can assist in getting a test kit into the hands of the personwho mayotherwiseput off discussing their situation with a doctor, or does not have time see one this week, or fears being seen at the HIV clinic then our service has been successful. 

As advances in technology have allowed for very accurate HIV testing, these HIV test kits for home use have become extremely popular. They are however to be used with care. They are not to be used for pre-sex screening when the window period is not respected. Traditional test result scan also be misused in this way but with a rapid test the temptation to misuse them may be greater. For this reason we are very clear in all our documentation that to use a home HIV rapid test kit, or in fact any method of HIV testing without respecting the window period of 3-6 months is to in effect destroy the value of any test result. You may as well not test at all as the body requires on average 1 to 6 months to produce HIV antibodies in response to the HIV virus. 

Head Start Testing's final message is as always, more testing saves lives. Be careful, test with care and enjoy life.

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