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.
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.
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
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.
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.