Trade Sexual Health

Free, confidential health advice, information,
services & support for the lesbian, gay, bisexual
and trans communities of Leicester,
Leicestershire & Rutland

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Remote HIV assisted testing

You can now take a blood sample for a HIV test from the comfort of your own home

Due to COVID 19, the availability of in-person HIV testing services within Leicester/shire has declined. Postal home testing kits have been made widely available across the UK, but many people are experiencing difficulties taking the required amount of blood for the blood test. Trade have developed ‘assisted testing’ services to help you counteract this problem.

We are now offering weekly remote HIV assisted testing services online every Monday between 12:00 – 17:00 via Microsoft Teams.

Microsoft Teams does not require you to create or have an existing account to use their web-based platform. Once you book a slot, we will provide you with a link by email which will gain you access to your private remote HIV assisted testing session with someone from the Trade team.

You’ll be allotted 30 minutes for the booking slot where we will guide you through the process in real time as well as providing any additional support you may need. You can also use this opportunity to ask us any questions regarding your sexual health and our services that are currently operational.

Before booking a slot, we advise you to order and have your testing kit delivered.

We understand that in some cases having a HIV test kit delivered to your place of residence and/or carrying out the test at home may not be feasible or convenient for several reasons. If so, please contact us to discuss other options available for you.

Remote HIV and Syphilis assisted testing details

Date: Every Monday

Time: 12:00 - 17:00 (Last assisted testing session at 16:30)

Order your HIV test kit: https://bit.ly/TSHhivpost

Book your slot:  https://bit.ly/TSHbooking

Frequently asked questions about remote HIV assisted testing

When can I expect the testing kit to arrive?

On average, once you’ve ordered your testing kit should take between 3 – 5 working days to arrive at your chosen location for delivery.

What will the testing kit consist of?

  • Information card
  • Labeling card
  • 3x Lancets
  • Blood sampling tube & protective case
  • 2x Sterile wipes
  • 2x Plasters
  • Pre-paid envelope

What will happen after I request a booking slot?

Once we have received your booking request, you will receive a confirmation email which will contain the link to join the remote assisted session at the date and time chosen.

What if it is inconvenient for me to have the testing kit delivered and/or to carrying out the test myself in my place of residence?

We understand that in some cases having a testing kit delivered to your place of residence and/or carrying out such at test within your place of residence may not be feasible or convenient for several reasons.  In some cases, we have the capacity with strict COVID measures in place, to invite you into our office located in Leicester city centre, for an in-person assisted HIV testing session with a member of the Trade team within a controlled environment. If this service would benefit your situation, please contact us to discuss this option.

What will happen during the session and how long will the session last?

You will be allotted up to 30 minutes with a member of the Trade team. To ensure your confidentiality, nobody else will be a part of that session. To ensure this, the session will be facilitated within a secluded area of our office, where no other person will be able to view the screen or be visible by our webcam.

We will guide you step-by-step through the whole process and offer you any assistance to make sure your able to obtain your blood sample. During the session you will also be able to discuss any other questions you may have about your sexual health.

Can I do anything in preparation to make the process easier, are there any tips for blood sampling?

One of the most important things to help you to distribute enough blood is to improve your blood circulation before carrying out the test.

This can be easily achieved if you:

  1. Take a warm shower or bath
  2. Exercise
  3. Hold a warm mug
  4. Wash then soak your hand in warm water

What if I can’t produce enough blood to fill the testing tube?

If you are having difficulties filling the testing tube during your remote HIV assisted testing session, we will give you the option to attend an in-person HIV testing session in our office. We have implemented COVID measures to ensure both yours and our safety. Please contact us to discuss this option.

When should I have an HIV test?

It normally takes 12 weeks (3 months) for HIV antibodies to show up in the blood. However, HIV antigens (the HIV virus) may be present and detectable in your blood from as little as 45 days after infection.

How quickly HIV antigens or antibodies can be detected in your blood varies from person to person, and therefore HIV may not be detected, even though the infection is there, before 12 weeks from when you might have been exposed to HIV.

This is called the window period.

If you are tested during this window period and have a negative result you should also be tested after the 12 weeks have passed to be totally sure of your result.

If you are worried about an incident in the past few days or weeks where you feel you may have been exposed to HIV, you should contact your local sexual health clinic which can carry out tests to identify HIV at this early stage.

If you are located in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland please contact -  Leicester Sexual Health 0300 124 0102

Follow the link If you are located within another area of the UK – Find my local sexual health clinic

What should I do if I am worried about potential HIV risk in the last 72 hours?

If you are worried about an incident of HIV exposure within the last 72 hours contact your local sexual health clinic for enquiries about PEP treatment, which can stop HIV entering the bloodstream after exposure. Please contact us if you require further support. For more info about PEP click here.

If you are located in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland please contact -  Leicester Sexual Health 0300 124 0102

Follow the link If you are located within another area of the UK – Find my local sexual health clinic

What happens after I post my blood samples?

The lab will run a test on your blood samples testing for HIV and syphilis. You will get a text message once the lab has received your blood sample and then another text with your results within 3 days of the lab receiving them.

What are the results and what do the results mean?

Negative Result

If your HIV test is negative, and you have not been at risk of HIV infection in the previous 12 weeks, then it is unlikely you are not infected with HIV. If your test is negative, the lab will notify you by text.

However, as everybody reacts differently to HIV infection, if you have been very recently infected, your antibody or antigen levels may be low but the test may still be negative.

If you have recently been at risk of HIV you should re-test once the window period is over (approximately 12 weeks/3 months since possible infection).

A negative result does not mean you can’t be infected in the future.

Reactive Result

If the test is reactive you will receive a call from the lab to arrange further testing at a clinic near you. This may be either a specialised HIV clinic or a local sexual health clinic.

It is possible that if the result is reactive you may still not be infected with HIV.

What to do when a text message comes back saying the results are inconclusive/not enough blood to tests?

The text message should include instructions on how to order and repeat the test.

Things to think about before having an HIV test?

Only you can decide if having an HIV test is right for you. You should not be forced into having a test by other people. Below are some reasons to have, and not have, an HIV test; everyone is different and you may have your own reasons too.

Reasons you may not test:

  • A positive result can mean a lot of stress and impact on your day-to-day life.
  • People may treat you differently if they know you are HIV positive.
  • You may be restricted on travelling and working abroad.
  • A positive result can make it more difficult to get life insurance.
  • If you have a negative result following risky behaviour which could have led to becoming HIV positive, you may see no reason to change your behaviour to lower the risk.
  • You may not be in a place to deal with a positive result emotionally.

Reasons to test:

  • You will know your HIV status. You won't be worried about what you think your HIV status is.
  • A negative result may give you peace of mind.
  • A positive result will enable you to access medication, monitoring and specialist support, which can greatly improve your long-term health.
  • If you are HIV positive, the sooner you are diagnosed the more likely you are to get the maximum benefit from HIV treatment.
  • We have come a long way in treatment and care with new technologies and broader access to sexual health clinics and treatment.  Somebody living with HIV can have a undetectable viral load, which means once they are on treatment they can get to a stage where the HIV in their body can be so low that it can’t be passed onto another person, this is U=U - Undetectable = Untransmittable. A person who is HIV positive and on medication can live a life as long as someone who is negative.
  • You will be able to make decisions about your future.

What do I need to think about after having a negative test result?

  • Getting a negative result doesn't mean you are immune to HIV and syphilis. You might want to think about times you have been uncomfortable with the risks you have taken and how you might deal with these in the future.
  • Remember it can take up to 12 weeks for antibodies and antigens to show up when you’re tested for HIV. If you have had unprotected sex or shared injecting equipment in the last 12 weeks you may want to take another test within the next three to six months.
  • This is a result for you and does not tell you anybody else's status; don't assume that your partner(s) have the same status.

What do I need to think about after having a reactive test result?

  • A reactive result doesn’t mean you’ve contracted HIV, if you have a reactive result  you’ll be asked to attend  a sexual health clinic near you for further testing to determine a definite result.  
  • This is a result for you and does not tell you anybody else's status; don't assume that your partner(s) have the same status.
  • If you have had further testing at a clinic and have been diagnosed with HIV it is important for you to go onto treatment. Once on treatment, your viral load will be so low that it will mean the HIV in your body can be so low that it can’t be passed onto another person. This is U=U - Undetectable = Untransmittable.
  • You may want to make changes in your life. Remember that you may be in shock and might not be thinking very clearly; wait until things settle down before you make major decisions.
  • Similarly, you might want to tell lots of people about being HIV positive. It's important you have someone you can talk to, but at this stage, try to talk to people you really trust. You can always tell people later, but you can never un-tell them. If you feel that you can’t talk to anybody but want to talk to somebody, then get in contact with us.
  • It will be suggested for you to provide the details of your recent sexual partners, this is so the sexual health clinic can contact and ask them to attend a test to determine their status. Your confidentiality will not be compromised during this process.

Will the HIV blood test check for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs)?

This test will only check for HIV and syphilis. It is not a full sexual health screen. If you would like a full sexual health check you will need to order a home STI testing kit online. If you are experiencing any symptoms relating to your sexual health please contact your local sexual health clinic. Walk-in services at Leicester Sexual Health are currently on hold due to COVID. Contact them for a phone consultation where they will determine your next steps of action.

If you are located in Leicester, Leicestershire or Rutland please contact -  Leicester Sexual Health 0300 124 0102

Follow the link If you are located within another area of the UK – Find my local sexual health clinic

I have a question or concern that has not been answered in these FAQs

Please contact Trade on 0116 254 1747 or email us at info@tradesexualhealth.com and we will be more than happy to answer any questions or concerns you may have.

Watch Christian and Salim from Trade giving you 5 reasons to test and discussing the National HIV Testing Week campaign. 

 

Remote HIV assisted testing