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26 March 2014, 05:00
A new test for HIV, which gives results in just 60 seconds, is being offered to people in Portsmouth.
Solent NHS Trust’s Sexual Health Service has launched Rapid HIV testing in community settings across Hampshire. The service, which is free of charge, allows clients to receive their test result within a minute of undergoing the test at convenient locations in their community.
The service was launched in Southampton last week, but is now being offered in between 3pm and 7pm at the Friendship House, Elm Grove, Southsea.
Andrew Smith, Sexual Health Promotion and HIV Prevention Lead, said:
“Rapid HIV testing is an opportunity to normalise HIV testing and offers opportunities for people to access a test outside of a clinical setting. Offering tests in the community makes it easier for people to access HIV testing and, if needed, to quickly access support and care. Rapid HIV testing is about supporting people to take a positive action about their sexual health.
“We realise that some people are reluctant to go to clinics for sexual health screening, and we are confident that this offers them a different choice in a confidential community setting. We will be offering ‘drop in’ sessions in addition to booked appointments.”
Rapid HIV Testing will be done usinga test called INSTI, which has been chosen by the Trust as it provides reliable results and is easy to use in a variety of settings. To take the test, a small drop of blood from a finger is drawn, tested and results made available after 60 seconds.
The test will give one of three results:
Negative - this means at this time you have no detectable HIV antibodies in your blood using this test.
Reactive - This means that your test has detected HIV antibodies in your blood but you will be required to have another test at one of our clinics to confirm your result.
An invalid result means that the test has not worked and Sexual Health Services would need to repeat the test. This is a very rare result.
The test used looks for antibodies to the HIV virus so will not pick up a HIV infection that has occurred earlier than 12 weeks from taking the test. Anyone testing negative within this ‘window period’ will be recommended to access another test after this period.
“It is important to stress that although the results are available within 60 seconds, we will provide support and counselling before, during and after the testing,” said Andrew.
“For example, if your test is reactive we will support you to access a second blood test to confirm your result. This will mean a taking a blood test at one of our clinics. We will support you to access a clinic and we aim to do this within 48 hours of your test result.”
For people who would have returned a negative test on the day, they are still advised to take precautions such as using condoms when having sex; not sharing injecting equipment and that they need to be tested for HIV at least once every 12 months.
For more information about the INSTI test you can visit www.biolytical.com/instifaq.html