About HIV self-testing
HIV self-testing (HIVST) is the process by which a person who wants to know their HIV status performs an HIV test themselves and interprets the result in private. This is generally conducted using rapid test kits, such as fingerstick tests (on whole blood) or mouth swab tests (on oral-fluid).
HIVST does not provide a diagnosis. Non-reactive (negative) self-test results are considered negative, but all reactive (positive) self-test results need to be confirmed according to national algorithms. In accordance with current WHO re-testing guidance and many national policies, individuals who test (including a self-test) in the “window period” ( 6-to-12 week period before individuals develop HIV antibodies and HIV rapid tests can detect antibodies) or are at on-going risk for HIV should be encouraged to re-test.
The OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test is the only rapid diagnostic test for HIV that is currently approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration for HIVST. Other HIV rapid diagnostic tests for HIVST are available, but many have yet to be rigorously evaluated for self-testing, and none have been pre-qualified by the World Health Organization for HIVST.
Also see a summary of the background of HIV self-tetsting.