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Oral HIV Self-Testing Frequently Asked Questions for Consumers 

What does the In-Home HIV Test do?
The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is a self-use test for HIV (HIV-1 and HIV-2) by testing oral fluid. This test works by looking for your body’s response (antibodies) to fight HIV. A positive result is preliminary and follow-up confirmatory testing is needed. Confirmatory testing is conducted by a medical clinic or health care provider to determine if the preliminary test result is correct.

What kinds of risk behaviors (risk exposure) put me at risk for HIV?

  • Unprotected sex (vaginal, oral or anal) with multiple sex partners.
  • Unprotected sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status you don’t know.
  • Unprotected sex between a man and another man.
  • Unprotected sex exchanged for money.
  • Using illegal injected drugs or steroids.
  • Sharing needles or syringes.
  • Having been diagnosed or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted infection, like syphilis.

After I think I may have been infected, how soon can I use the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test?
This test detects HIV infection three months after a risk exposure.  When you have been infected with HIV, your body produces antibodies as a defense against the virus and it marks the virus as an invader. These antibodies can be found in your blood or oral fluid, but it may take up to three months for your body to produce enough of them for the test to detect.

If you have received a negative test result and it has been less than three months since you have had a risk exposure, repeat the test a full three months after the risk exposure.

Is this test anonymous?
Yes. Even when calling the OraQuick Support Center, no personal information is required and your identity is not known.

What does a negative result mean?
A negative result means that the test has not detected HIV. If it has been at least three months since you have had a risk exposure and you followed the test directions carefully, you are likely not infected with HIV. However, there is a chance for a false or incorrect result (1 out of 12). To reduce the chance of false results, be sure to read the test instructions and follow them closely. If you have received a negative test result and it has been less than three months since you have had a risk exposure, repeat the test a full three months after the risk exposure.

What does a positive result mean?
A positive result does not mean that you definitely have HIV. It means that you may have HIV. A medical clinic or health care provider must retest you to confirm your result. However, a positive result should always be taken seriously and requires immediate follow-up with a health care provider.

If you do not know where to get tested, you can call the OraQuick Support Center toll free at 1-866-436-6527. A representative can provide you with the name of a healthcare provider or clinic in any area. You can also refer to the information resources listed at the bottom of this page.

Before using the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, remember these important points:

  • Do not eat, drink (including water), smoke, chew gum, or use oral care products for 30 minutes prior to taking the test.
  • A “positive” result requires follow-up testing from a healthcare provider or HIV testing site. These locations can be found using the resources listed on this page.
  • A “negative” result cannot be trusted if a risk exposure occurred within the past 3 months because this test may miss early infection before the body has had time to respond to the virus.

Information resources on the web:

Last Revised: November 19, 2014