FAQs

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Consideration before ordering

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Q1-1.

Is an HIV self-test the right choice for me?

For people who are not currently reached by existing HIV voluntary counselling and testing (VCT) services, knowing HIV status by self-testing is another choice providing greater privacy with total self-control.

If you are not ready for the testing result, you may talk to nurse counsellor before performing your HIV self-test. Please call the Gay Men HIV Testing Hotline of the Department of Health 21171069 for risk assessment, counselling and psychological support. The Hotline provides free and confidential services (include anonymous HIV testing). No caller identity function is installed in any of these hotlines.

Service hours:
Monday to Friday: 9 am -6 pm
Saturday, Sunday and Public Holiday: Closed

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Q1-2.

Why do I need to get tested early since there is no cure of HIV?

Although there is as yet no cure for HIV infection, significant advances and progresses in the treatment have been made. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) attacks HIV at different stages of its life cycle to inhibit HIV replication, and keeps the immune system healthy. People under an HIV treatment can live a healthy and productive life with the life expectancy similar to ordinary people. The clinical benefit is most prominent if diagnosed and treated early.

International evidences have shown that as long as viral load is monitored regularly and remained suppressed at undetectable levels (or less than 200 copies/ml according to international recommendation) for at least six months, the chance of passing on the virus would be negligible through sex. Since 2015, international guidelines recommended that ART should be initiated for all HIV-infected individuals to reduce the morbidity and mortality. Current medications have fewer side effects and majority of people are able to achieve undetectable after starting medication for half year. Theoretically, those received treatment with good compliance are not able to transmit disease.

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Q1-3.

If HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, why use oral fluids (saliva) to test for HIV?

HIV cannot be transmitted through saliva, sweat, tear or urine.

This test kit detects the presence of HIV antibodies. When a person is infected by HIV, the body responds by producing antibodies. These antibodies can be detected from oral fluids (as well as in blood). An HIV antibody test detects the presence of such antibodies. A positive test result shows that a person may have infected.

HIV can be transmitted through contact with blood, semen, vaginal fluid, rectal fluids and breast milk from an infected person.

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Q1-4.

Is there any HIV present in theHIV test kit and can I be infected by the test?

There is no HIV present in the HIV test kit and you cannot be infected by a newly unused test kit.

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Q1-5.

Can I use this test kit to test for other sexually transmitted infections?

No.

This self-test kit is for testing HIV only. If you think you have other STI, please consult your doctor. The social hygiene clinics of the Department of Health provides testing, treatment and counselling on STIs.

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Q1-6.

Is my privacy guaranteed if I order test kit at this programme?

All information you provide to this programme will be treated confidentially. The test kit set will be packaged and delivered in discreet and plain packaging. There is no way to know what is in the package or who has sent it.

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Q1-7.

Can I use this kit to test for partner, my employer or friend?

HIV testing should only be done on a voluntary basis. You cannot test for HIV infection in your partner, employee or friend without their consent.

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Q1-8.

Can my partner and I test as a couple? What should I do if one of us tests HIV positive?

You and your partner can test separately in your privacy. Each of you should use separate test kits and conduct the test as indicated in the instructions provided.

If any of you interpret a positive result, confirmatory test by taking venous blood is needed. You are highly recommended to contact the Gay Men HIV Testing Hotline of the Department of Health at 21171069 or approach an NGO for rapid test and counselling services.

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Q1-9.

What should I do if someone forces me to take a test?

HIV testing should only be done on a voluntary basis. You have the right to refuse to take a HIV test or stop the procedure at any time if you feel not ready to know your status.

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Q1-10.

I have been taking PEP or PrEP HIV treatment. Can I use this test?

This self-test kit is not suitable for you if you are taking antiretrovirals for post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) OR pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). In such cases, a false negative result is possible.

As recommended by WHO, this self-test kit is NOT suitable for users receiving any form of treatment for HIV. A person who is taking antiretroviral therapy should not use a self-test kit. It might give a false negative result.

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Q1-11.

I already know I have HIV. Is there a cure if my self-test kit showed a negative result?

If you are diagnosed to have HIV infection and have been taking antiretroviral therapy, this self-test kit is not for you. If you have taken the test, do not consider the result you got as a false negative result is possible.

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Q1-12.

Is my privacy guaranteed upon test result uploading?

There’s no such privacy issue as the result uploading process is anonymous. Without collecting any personally identifiable information of users, data such as general statistics are collected for the compilation of statistical reports and analysis purposes.

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About the Test Kit

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Q2-1.

How reliable is the HIV self-test kit provided by this study?

The kit-set used for this study is OraQuick® HIV Self-Test. This test kit is prequalified by the World Health Organisation (WHO) which use of oral fluid as specimen.

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Q2-2.

How accurate is the OraQuick Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test?

The sensitivity and specificity of OraQuick® HIV Self-Test is 99.4% and 99% respectively. As long as you follow the user guide in the test kit to perform the test, you can get the test results.

Sensitivity of a test is its ability to show positive results in infected people. Specificity of a test is its ability to show negative results in non-infected people.

For more …

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Q2-3.

How does the self-testing kit provide by the “HIV Self-Test Study” of the Department of Health work?

“HIV Self-Test Study” provides test kit set with an instruction, test device and developer solution vial. Self-testing requires user to collect a specimen, performs a test and interprets the test by oneself. The whole process is conducted in private and with total self-control.

The kit-set involves the users collecting oral fluid to check for HIV antibodies. Oral fluid, collected around the outer gums, which is different from saliva. The test can give user results in about 20 minutes after the test device is inserted in to the test solution.

When a person is infected by HIV, the body responds by producing antibodies. These antibodies are not protective in nature. An HIV antibody test detects the presence of such antibodies. A positive test result shows that a person may have infected. However, the test is only for preliminary screening. Confirmatory test by taking venous blood is needed.

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Q2-4.

How long do I have to wait after exposure to HIV before this test result can be considered reliable?

This test kit detects the presence HIV antibodies. After initial exposure, HIV antibody takes some time to develop in human body before reaching a detectable level; this period varies in different individual and can be as long as 3 months.

If you think you have been exposed to HIV at least three months ago, a negative result means you are not infected with HIV.

If you interpret a positive result, you may have infected with HIV. However, the test is only for preliminary screening. Confirmatory test by taking venous blood is needed.

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Q2-5.

How reliable are the test result performed 3 months after risky sex?

HIV antibody test can give you accurate results 3 months from exposure. If you followed the instructions for the self-test very carefully, a negative result probably means you don’t have HIV. If you continue to be at risk of HIV infection, you should continue to re-test every 6 to 12 months.

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Q2-6.

How should the HIV self-test kit be stored?

The storage temperature for the OraQuick HIV Self- Test is 2 - 30˚C. Ensure the test kit is away from direct sunlight or storage with high humidity.

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Taking the Test

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Q3-1.

I just ordered my HIV self-test kit, do I need additional materials or equipment?

Except for a timer or watch that can time 20 to 40 minutes, everything is provided by “HIV Self-Test Study” of the Department of Health.If you wear glasses to read, you will need them for taking the test.

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Q3-2.

Will the result be valid if I ate/drank or gargled before performing the test?

No eating or drinking, chewing gum for at least 15 minutes or use of oral care products (such as mouthwash or gargle) 30 minutes before the test. Remove denture and anything which cover the gums prior to the oral fluid collection. The test result might be affected.

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Q3-3.

Could having flu, in any way affect the accuracy of an HIV test?

Your test result is accurate even if you had flu or a cold or are using any medication. HIV test results are not affected by other circumstances. This includes having chronic illness such as hypertension, other STI, putting on medications e.g. antibiotics, and vaccinations.

Remarks : In order to ensure an accurate result, no eating or drinking, chewing gum for at least 15 minutes or use of oral care products (such as mouthwash or gargle) 30 minutes before the test. Remove denture and anything which cover the gums prior to the oral fluid collection.

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Q3-4.

What should I notice while handling the developer vial?

Remove the developer vial from the foil pouch. Hold it firmly and carefully uncap the vial by gently rocking the cap back & forth. Place the uncapped vial into hole until it reaches the bottom of the box.

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Q3-5.

What should I do if developer vial falls over with solution spilled?

Discard the test kit and repeat the testing procedure with a new test kit. You must have developer solution in the vial to run the test and get an accurate result. Please carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. You may consider to order a new test kit.

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Q3-6.

When I swab my gum, am I supposed to swab fiercely?

Don’t swab fiercely to avoid injury. You have to press the flat pad firmly against your gum and swab it along your upper gum and lower gums. Each gum once.

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Q3-7.

The test device dropped on the floor when I opened the test kit pouch. What should I do?

If you accidentally dropped the test device and the flat pad touched the floor, you should not rely on the test result. Discard the test kit and repeat the testing procedure with a new test kit. Please carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. You may consider to order a new test kit.

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Q3-8.

I have taken the test. What should I do if I can’t interpret my test result?

Please carefully follow the instruction, and you may go the “Results interpretation” section of this website.

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Q3-9.

What should I do if nothing appears in the result window?

If the result window of the test device did not have any lines on it when you read your test result, then your test did not work. The test result is invalid. Please upload the test result by shooting a photo on the result window and select “Invalid”. In case the result of validation is same as your interpretation, your payment will be cancelled. You can re-order the kit and the delivery fee for this order would be exempted.

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Q3-10.

Will the result valid if I read the result after 20 minutes?

Please read the instruction in the test kit before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, insert the flat pad of the test device all the way down into the vial for no less than 20 minutes.

If you read the test result more than 40 minutes after the flat pad was placed in the vial, the result of the test is NOT valid.

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Q3-11.

What should I do if the test result is invalid?

An invalid test result means that there was a problem of the test device. An Invalid result CANNOT BE INTERPRETED. Please upload the test result by shooting a photo on the result window and select “Invalid”. In case the result of validation is same as your interpretation, your payment will be cancelled. You can re-order the kit and the delivery fee for this order would be exempted.

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Q3-12.

How do I dispose of my used test kit?

The used test kit including the device and vial can be eliminated with domestic waste.

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Cancel Payment

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Q4-1.

Is cost of test kit can be refunded only after test result with photo uploading?

This study aims at exploring the feasibility of logistic operation of ordering HIV self-test kits via online platform; For refund, user have to upload the test result by shooting a photo on the kit and complete the “Feedback questionnaire”. Please check out the procedure of result uploading and payment cancellation.

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Q4-2.

How to refund the payment (HK$ 115.00) for the test kit? i.e. Payment cancellation

In general, user has to upload the test result by shooting a photo on the kit and complete the “Feedback questionnaire” within 14 days upon ordering. Payment (HK$ 115.00) will be cancelled once the result is validated by DH medical staff.

Procedure of result uploading:

[Step 1] enter your mobile number
[Step 2] enter one-time password
[Step 3] Complete “Feedback Questionnaire”
[Step 4] upload test result with photo of test kit

DH staff will validate the result with your uploaded photo within 5 working days and notify you via SMS. Payment will be cancelled.