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 21171069 or AIDS Hotline 2780 2211 of the Department of Health for risk assessment, counselling and psychological support. The Hotline provide 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 the HIV 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 family doctor. The social hygiene clinics of the Department of Health also 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 and user guide 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 at 21171069, AIDS Hotline 2780 2211 of the Department of Health or approach an NGO for HIV confirmatory test and counselling services.

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Q1-9.

What should I do if someone force 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 antiretroviral drugs 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 and any personally identifiable information will not be collected from the users. The uploaded results and relevant data 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-sets used for this study include OraQuick® HIV Self-Test which use of oral fluid as specimen (prequalified by WHO) and autotest VIH® HIV Self-Test which use fingerprick blood as specimen (approved by the CE mark).

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Q2-2.

How accurate is the HIV Self-Test using in this study?

The sensitivity and specificity of OraQuick® HIV Self-Test is 99.4% and 99% respectively while the sensitivity and specificity of autotest VIH® is 100% and 99.8% respectively. The accuracy of the two test-kits are similar.
As long as you follow the instructions and 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 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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Q2-4.

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

HIV antibody tests usually become positive within 3 months of the individual being infected with the virus (the window period). If you follow the instructions for the self-test very carefully, a negative result probably means you don’t have HIV. If you have ongoing high risk behaviour, you should re-test every 6 to 12 months

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Q2-5.

How should the HIV self-test kit be stored?

The storage temperature for the OraQuick HIV Self-Test and autotest VIH® HIV Self-Test is 2-30℃ and 8-30℃ respectively. 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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- Notes for using oral fluid specimen

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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 need glasses to read, you will also 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?

If you use oral fluid as specimen, don’t eat or drink, 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. Place the uncapped vial into test stand 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?

If developer vial falls over with solution spilled, please discard the test kit and repeat the testing procedure with a new test kit. You may consider to order a new test kit.

Please carefully follow the instructions and user guide.

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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 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. You may consider to order a new test kit.

Please carefully follow the instructions and user guide.

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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 instructions, user guide, 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 after 20 minutes 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 instructions and user guide 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 the test is not working. It is not possible to draw conclusions from this result. It may due to problem of the test device. 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?

All device can be disposed as a domestic waste.

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- Notes for using fingerprick blood specimen

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Q3-13.

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

Except for a timer or watch that can time 15 to 20 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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Q3-14.

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 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. You may consider to order a new test kit.

Please carefully follow the instructions and user guide.

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Q3-15.

What things I should pay attention when collecting blood sample?

After using alcohol swab to disinfect your finger, wait for the finger to dry before pricking the skin with the lancet. Wipe first drop of blood with sterile gauze pad. Gently squeeze out second drop of blood for testing.

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Q3-16.

How do I know if the right amount of blood sample can be collected during the process?

While using the test device to collect blood sample, the pointed end of the test device should be filled with right amount of blood as shown on the user guide (refer to Step six). Too much or too little blood can both cause inaccurate test result.

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Q3-17.

What things I should pay attention during the process of testing?

After you collect right amount of blood sample, you should ensure the test device has inserted into the test stand and already punctured the foil cover of the buffer cap. You will feel it snap through 3 times during the process of insertion. Checking for a pink stain that will start to appear in 1 minute. If no pink stain, push down more firmly on the test device to insert it completely.

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Q3-18.

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

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

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Q3-19.

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 after 15 minutes, 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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Q3-20.

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

Wait for 15 minutes before reading the result. Do not read the results after 20 minutes. The result of the test is NOT valid if you read it beyond 20 minutes.

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Q3-21.

What should I do if the test result is invalid?

An invalid test result means that the test is not working. It is not possible to draw conclusions from this result. It may due to problem of the test device. 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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Q3-22.

How do I dispose of my used test kit?

All device can be disposed as a domestic waste.

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Cancel Payment

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Q4-1.

Is cost of test kit can be refunded only after uploading the test result and completing the “Feedback questionnaire”?

Yes, this study aims at exploring the preference of HIVST self-test type (blood vs. oral fluid).

For refund, user have to upload the test result and complete the “Feedback questionnaire”. Please check out the procedure of result uploading and payment cancellation in our website.

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Q4-2.

How to refund the payment (HK$ 130) for the test kit? i.e. Payment cancellation

In general, payment will be cancelled with result uploaded within 14 days upon ordering and complete a questionnaire after performing the self-test.

Procedure of result uploading:

[Step 1] enter the mobile number you previously used for ordering
[Step 2] enter one-time password
[Step 3] upload test result
[Step 4] Complete “Feedback Questionnaire”