RED Friday - Tackle Stigma

Host a RED Friday event this November 27th to tackle HIV stigma and support people living with HIV.

Head to our get a test page to order a HIV home test or find your closest testing centre for quick, easy and confidential HIV & STI tests.

Testing is one of the most important things you can do to help end HIV transmissions in New Zealand. Most new HIV transmissions occur when people don’t know they are living with HIV and aren’t on treatment.

To find out how often you should be testing use our tool to get a recommendation and sign up to let us slide into your DMs to remind you when it’s time for your next test.

Plus, it’s free if you meet the criteria head to our get a test page to find out more, order a home test or make an appointment for a quick, easy and confidential test.

Once tested, if you find your result is positive, start treatment as soon as possible. This is the best thing you can do for your own health and the health of your community. The sooner you start to treat, the sooner you can get on top of HIV. Once on treatment, most people are able to reach an undetectable viral load within six months, which means there is no risk of passing on HIV during sex - even if condoms aren't used.

If everyone in our community tests regularly and those who test positive are connected to treatment, we’ll be much closer to ending new transmissions in Aotearoa.

 

What do I need to know about testing with NZAF/Ending HIV?

Window period

The window period is what we call the time when HIV may be present in your system but not detectable by certain tests. During this period (usually 4-12 weeks) someone could be highly infectious due to the rapid replication that occurs when first exposed to HIV and a test would still show they were HIV negative.

This is why a negative result should always be confirmed by a follow-up test around 12 weeks later.

Evidence of HIV can be detected by some tests as early as 2 weeks after exposure, but it may take up to 3 months. Everyone responds differently to the virus. Your peer tester can explain this to you when you come in for an appointment

 

Rapid tests – finger pricks or self-test swabs

In our Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch centres we offer rapid finger-prick tests. This test will give your results very quickly (between 10 and 40 minutes) and don’t require a blood draw with needle and syringe, so are perfect for those a bit scared of needles.

 

Home tests 

On our Get a test page you can also order a home test. Delivered in a discreet package the home test consists of an oral swab (no finger pricks or blood), and results are usually available in 20 minutes.

Or if you live in Auckland or Hamilton you can pick a home test up from a local venue.

 

STIs

We can only rapid-test for HIV and syphilis in our clinics but can help you take swab samples and send them to a Sexual Health Service (SHS) to run a full STI screening.

If you are already presenting symptoms of an STI or have been contacted about testing via contact tracing, we cannot test you and will need to refer you to SHS. Please go directly to SHS or your GP if you have STI symptoms or have been contact traced.

A lot of STIs can be prevented by using condoms, but not every time and there are still ways they can be transmitted – so, testing regularly is your best way of reducing the chance of passing them by detecting and treating any STIs early.

NOTE: we are currently in a syphilis epidemic in NZ, you should be testing for syphilis regularly and encouraging partners to do so too.

 

How often?

You can use our testing frequency tool to find out how often you should be testing, as well as sign up for helpful reminders to keep you on track.

Testing is totally normal and testing regularly is just a good thing to do for your own sexual health and that of your partners and community.

How Often Should I Test?

To maintain good sexual health and to help end HIV, we need to test more frequently. Find out how often you should test.

Are you a man (this includes trans men) who has sex with other men?

Are you a trans woman or gender diverse person who has sex with men?

Are you in a closed, monogamous relationship?

Is your partner living with HIV?

Do you use a condom every time you have penetrative sex?

Do they have an undetectable viral load?

How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?

How many sexual partners have you had in the last 6 months?

Once a year

Based on your answers, you are most likely at low risk of contracting HIV and should be testing for HIV & STIs once a year as part of an annual health check.

If you’re concerned about your personal risk, we would recommend speaking to your doctor and explaining why you think you might be at risk or find a testing service right for you here.

Once a year

Evidence of HIV can sometimes not be detected by a test for up to three months. If you and your partner decide that you no longer want to use condoms or PrEP you will need to be monogamous for at least three months, and then both receive a negative HIV test result.

After this, we'd recommend testing for HIV once a year, as part of an annual health check-up.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

Because your partner is undetectable there is no risk of you contracting HIV.

You would need to be testing if your partner experiences a treatment interruption.

Every Six Months

If your partner doesn’t have an undetectable viral load then you should be using condoms or PrEP

We recommend getting an HIV test every six months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

Once a year

We recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen once a year.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

Every Six Months

We recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every six months.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

Every Three months

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every three months.

With regular, consistent condom use it is unlikely that you have contracted HIV. But, other STIs like syphilis and gonorrhoea can still be easily transmitted through oral sex, rimming or even using spit as lube.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text.

Once a year

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen once a year.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

Every Six Months

Based on your answers, we recommend getting an HIV test and a full STI screen every six months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text or email.

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

Every Three Months

If you're having unprotected sex with casual partners, then you're at high risk of HIV. You need to be testing every three months.

Get a test here and/or sign up to get testing reminders sent to you via text.

As you struggle with consistent condom use, you should consider taking PrEP to stay safe.

Peer testers

Our testing is carried out by peer testers – these are lovely gay and bi men who have been trained to give you the best, most-relatable sexual-health advice and carry out professional rapid testing. By having peers in the clinic, who are able to understand your experiences, we hope to take away some of that intimidation and awkwardness that can pop up when talking to your GP. Testing at our clinics is a completely confidential, judgement-free zone, so you can be honest with us.

 

Confidentiality

Anything you share with peer testers or our organisation as a whole is completely confidential. You don’t even need to tell us your real name. “Right this way Mr Lady Gaga, our peer tester will see you now”. The only time we need to use a real name is if you are being referred on to a Sexual Health Service or specialist – and you would be asked permission to do so if this happens.

Click here to get a full breakdown of your rights and our privacy practices.

 

Confirmatory testing – test again in a few months

You might hear this during your appointment or read about it around the place - this just means, due to the window period for HIV, rapid-test results need to be confirmed again in around three months.

 

Positive result

Everyone responds to a positive test result in their own way - there is no right or wrong way to handle the news. The first thing that will happen is you will be referred on to specialist care who will run a test to confirm your result and give you your diagnosis.

It’s important to take a deep breath and remember these things that might help in this moment:

  • You are not going to die. In Aotearoa, you can be connected to free treatment as soon as possible – likely the same day
  • Today’s treatments mean that HIV is a manageable condition and your life expectancy is the same as an HIV-negative person
  • Starting HIV treatment as early as possible increases your chances of getting the most health benefits from your medication
  • Most people on effective treatment get to what is called an undetectable viral load – which means HIV cannot be passed on sexually
  • There is support available to help you come to terms with a positive result, answer any questions you have, as well as help you to navigate the health system and life with HIV

Testing elsewhere?

Standard HIV tests – lab bloods

GPs, hospitals and most sexual health clinics don’t do rapid HIV testing. Expect a standard HIV test if you go to one of these places. As with many other blood tests, blood will be drawn into a vial and sent to a lab for processing. You will usually wait 5 to 7 working days to receive your results from a standard HIV test. If your doctor is not aware that you are having anal sex with guys, it will be important to specifically ask for HIV to be included as part of a sexual health screening test.

If you are not comfortable disclosing your sexual activity to your GP, you could also attend a sexual health clinic. Sexual health clinics regularly see gay, bi and down-low clients and their services are usually free. 

STIs

Staying on top of your sexual health means testing for other STIs regularly, as well as HIV. GPs and Sexual Health Services will be able to organise full STI screenings for you. This will likely be a blood test and urine sample or swabs.

A lot of STIs can be prevented by using condoms, but not every time and there are still ways they can be transmitted – so, testing regularly is your best way of detecting and treating any STIs early to reduce the chances of passing them on.

NOTE: We are currently in a syphilis epidemic in NZ, you should be testing for syphilis regularly and encouraging partners to do so too.

Featured FAQs

Is an HIV test done through a GP 100% accurate? Is it the same as a rapid test that NZAF does?

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GPs do not offer rapid tests. They send people off to a lab and blood is taken there. People then have to wait a few days for results, but these tests are 100% accurate. Our rapid HIV tests are 100% sensitive to HIV, they are FDA approved and 98.9% specific to antibodies, and you will get your result in a few minutes. 

How long does an HIV test take and when can I get the test results? I had sex without a condom a few weeks ago and I'm really worried.

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A rapid test for HIV at NZAF will give you results in just 20 minutes. Book a free and confidential test now.

Keep in mind evidence of HIV can be detected by some tests as early as 2 weeks after exposure, but it may take up to 3 months. Everyone responds differently to the virus.

The NZAF network

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