Each year, on June 27, National HIV Testing Day (NHTD) is observed. On this day, we unite with partners, health departments, and other organizations to raise awareness about the importance of HIV testing and early diagnosis of HIV.
The 2020 NHTD theme is about the power of “Knowing”— knowing your HIV status, knowing your risk, knowing your prevention options, and knowing your treatment options. This theme highlights the many ways to stay in-the-know about HIV testing and expands beyond testing to include broader awareness of the many options related to HIV prevention, testing, and treatment. This year also focuses on self-testing as an option when facility-based services and in-person patient-clinician contact is limited.
With social distancing and CDC protocols in place to wear masks, there are plenty of reasons to be more cautious. Free, at-home HIV testing is available for Florida residents and interested persons can order online a free at-home HIV test kit.
Test yourself and find out your HIV status at no cost to you and from the comfort of your home. Contact the Florida Dept. of Health at https://knowyourhivstatus.com/get-a-free-home-testing-kit/
KNOW YOUR HIV STATUS
The first step to protecting yourself and your loved ones against HIV is to get tested. Now, that step is easier than ever with free at-home testing available to Florida residents. With OraQuick In-Home HIV Test Kit, you can test yourself for HIV and find out your status in as little as 20 minutes without ever leaving your home.
Can I get an HIV test to use at home or in a private location?
Yes. These are known as HIV self-tests. There are two kinds:
• A Rapid Self-Test is done entirely at home or in a private location and can produce results within 20 minutes. You can buy a rapid self-test kit at a pharmacy or onlineexternal icon. The only rapid self-test currently available in the US is an oral fluid test.
• A Mail-In Self-Test includes a specimen collection kit that contains supplies to collect dried blood from a fingerstick at home. The sample is then sent to a lab for testing and the results are provided by a health care provider. Mail-in self-tests can be ordered through various online merchant sites. Your health care provider can also order a mail-in self-test for you.
Note: State laws regarding self-testing vary and may limit availability. Check with your health care provider for additional testing options.
What should I expect when I use a rapid HIV self-test (also known as a home test)?
There is currently one FDA-approved rapid self-testexternal icon (OraQuick).
For this test, you must swab your gums to collect an oral fluid sample and use the materials in the kit to test your oral fluid sample. You will be able to get a result within 20 minutes. It is important to follow the directions as described in the instructions or the test will not work. There is a phone number included with the HIV self-test for anyone to call to get help with conducting the test.
You should always interpret the rapid self-test according to the test manufacturer’s instructionsexternal icon.
• If the test result is negative, and you haven’t had a possible exposure during the previous 3 months, you can be confident you don’t have HIV.
• If your test result is positive, go to a health care provider for follow-up testing.
Some people have difficulty in conducting a rapid self-test and the test does not perform as it should. If a rapid HIV self-test is invalid as described in the instructions, then the test has not worked. In this case, you will need to use another rapid self-test, a mail-in self-test, or seek testing at a health care provider or testing center.
Blackdoctor.org and Florida Dept. of Health contributed to this report.