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There are all sorts of reasons why you may be reluctant to test for HIV. Doing something new can be scary. If you think you might have HIV it’s really normal to feel anxious about getting tested. 

Remember, most people living with HIV are leading full and active lives. The sooner you get tested, the sooner you can access treatment. Getting on treatment early is the best thing you can do for your health if you are diagnosed with HIV.

Confidential testing

Your details and test results will not be revealed to anybody except for designated clinic staff and in some cases, specific health professionals with your consent. The clinic will require some personal details, but they will not be revealed to anybody - clinics are legally bound by patient confidentiality and a strict ethical code.

Anonymous testing

If you choose not to give your real name (you can use a fake name), we do ask if you can provide either an authentic mobile number or email address to avoid confusion with other testing clients using the same name.  If you do have a positive result we will discuss how you want to share your information. Please note for STI testing the District Health Boards who process the STI tests do not accept the use of fake names.

Home tests

If you don’t live near a testing centre or don’t want to go to a clinic for a test you can head to our get a test page and order a home test. Delivered in a discreet package the home test consists of an oral swab (no finger pricks or blood), and the results are usually available in 20 minutes. 

I don’t have symptoms

Around 40% of people living with HIV won’t have obvious symptoms. There are no unique symptoms that everyone will experience when they first become infected with HIV, and the majority of the symptoms can be easily confused with other illnesses, such as a cold or the flu.

It can take up to 10 years for any clear symptoms of HIV to appear, at which point it is likely your immune system will have been seriously damaged and AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) may have developed. 

Why it’s better to know

If a test reveals you’re HIV positive, you’re able to meet with a doctor and discuss your options for treatment. HIV treatment does not cure HIV, but it can reduce levels of the virus in the blood to such low levels that it is not able to cause damage to your immune system.

If you don’t get tested, you’re not able to start treatment. Left untreated, HIV causes serious damage to your immune system.

That’s right, starting HIV treatment can reduce the levels of virus in your body to such low levels that it becomes undetectable in a blood test. Evidence shows that having an undetectable viral load means HIV cannot be transmitted sexually, even without condoms. Of course, we encourage people to maintain using condoms because they also protect against other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea.

How long does an HIV test take and when can I get the test results? I had sex without a condom a few weeks ago and I'm really worried.

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A rapid test for HIV at NZAF will give you results in just 20 minutes. Book a free and confidential test now.

Keep in mind evidence of HIV can be detected by some tests as early as 2 weeks after exposure, but it may take up to 3 months. Everyone responds differently to the virus.

The NZAF network

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