What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s defense against illness. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV and AIDS can’t be cured, but the medications available today help people live normal life spans.
How does someone get infected with HIV?
HIV spreads through contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of an infected person. Transmission can occur from unsafe sex.
It can also result from exposure to blood through the sharing of used syringes or needles.
Women living with HIV can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It is also possible to become infected with HIV through a blood transfusion, although this is now very rare.
HIV cannot be passed on from one person to another through casual contact. There is no risk of infection when we share everyday items such as food, dishes, utensils, clothes, beds and toilets with a person living with HIV.
The virus is not spread from contact with sweat, tears, saliva, or a casual kiss from an infected person. People do not become infected from eating food prepared by a person living with HIV. People have not become infected with HIV through insect bites.
About the INSTI® HIV Self Test
How does the test work?
The test uses simple flow-through technology to detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies using a drop of human fingerstick blood. The test does not detect the virus itself. The test dot will only be visible if HIV antibodies are present. The INSTI® HIV Self Test is simple to perform and very accurate, but it will only work correctly if you carefully read and follow the instructions. You may test positive with INSTI® HIV Self Test in as little as 21-22 days after infection1, however, it can take as long as 3 months to produce a positive result. A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after infection.
How accurate is the test?
Extensive research studies have shown that this test is extremely accurate when performed correctly. The accuracy of medical tests is typically described in terms of sensitivity (all truly positive individuals test positive) and specificity (all truly negative persons test negative). INSTI® HIV Self Test has been shown to have a sensitivity of 99.8-100% and a specificity of 99.5-99.8%.
What is the ‘window period’?
This is the time from the HIV infection to when a test can correctly give a positive result. You may test positive with INSTI® HIV Self Test in as little as 21-22 days after infection1, however it can take as long as 3 months to produce a positive result.
A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after the infection. If you think you have been exposed to HIV within the last 3 months, and your results are negative, you should test again after at least 3 months have passed since your exposure.
How will I know if my test was done correctly?
The INSTI® HIV Self Test has a built-in control dot to show that the test has been performed correctly and that you have added the proper amount of fingerstick blood. If the control dot does not appear, your test has not worked. Please discard your test and retest with a new test.
If only the control dot is visible it means that your result is negative and you probably do not have HIV.
If two dots are visible your test result is positive. This means you likely have HIV. Although the results of the INSTI® HIV Self Test are very accurate, you MUST have a positive result confirmed by a doctor as soon as possible so that treatment can be started immediately. It is essential for your health and wellbeing that you seek medical advice if your result is positive.
What if your result is negative?
Continue to make efforts to stay negative by reducing risks of exposure to HIV, such as practicing safe sex and other prevention methods.
If you believe that you have been exposed in the past 3 months, repeat testing after 3 months.
It is recommended to test every 3-12 months if you are high risk to acquiring HIV.
What if your result is positive?
Go to your doctor or nearest testing facility to receive confirmatory testing. Remember that any HIV self test is a screening test only and is not a conclusive diagnosis.