When should I get tested for HIV?

You should get tested for HIV under the following circumstances:

If you have flu symptoms

If you experience flu-like symptoms within a few days or up to four weeks after a high-risk situation, immediately consult your doctor or a testing centre on whether you should get tested for HIV. The symptoms might be a sign of an infection. It is crucial that an HIV infection be detected and treated early. Use a condom until the situation is cleared out.

After a high-risk situation

A new HIV infection does not always manifest with symptoms, which is why you should consult a testing centre or your doctor immediately after a high-risk situation on whether you should get tested for HIV – even if you’re not experiencing any symptoms.

In a new relationship

If you’re in a new relationship and both of you wish to dispense with condom use, you should get tested together.

How is HIV tested for?

An HIV infection is diagnosed with a blood test. The rapid test that can be obtained from an HIV testing centre delivers a result within 20 minutes.

A test can detect an infection two weeks after the unprotected vaginal or anal sex. If that test comes back negative, it should be repeated six weeks after the unprotected vaginal or anal sex, which is the earliest an infection can be positively ruled out.

There are also HIV home testing kits. They work differently than the test you take at the HIV testing centre, which is why the window period time with a home testing kit is three months. This means that you have to wait three months after a high-risk situation until the home test can positively rule out an HIV infection. Because of the risk of forgeries, you should buy your home testing kit from a specialist retailer rather than online. For more information, read the factsheet.

Where can I get tested for HIV?

There are several options for getting an HIV test. You can get tested at a professional HIV testing centre, at your doctor’s surgery or at a hospital. In most cases, the test can be done anonymously.