Sometimes the test doesn’t give you a result. Usually when the test doesn’t work, it can mean you might have missed something in the instructions.
Don’t give up on getting tested! If the HIV self-test did not work, you can use another HIV self-test or find testing at a health care provider or testing center. Make sure to read the instructions before taking your test so you can get a result.
Remember: You should always interpret HIV self-test results according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Getting a negative result can bring up a mix of emotions. Try not to judge yourself however you feel. It’s important to know that a negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV. That’s because of the window period for the test — the time between your last potential HIV exposure and when a test can detect HIV in your body.
If you have any of the following experiences, you might want to get tested least once a year and your health care provider may recommend more frequent testing:
Getting a positive HIV test result can bring up a mix of emotions. Take a deep breath. It's important to take care of yourself and reach out to get support and treatment. If you're feeling anxious or upset, text Crisis Text Line at 741741 or visit CrisisTextLine.org to get immediate mental health support. You can also contact our support team at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 628-899-4662 to talk about what comes next.
When you're ready to take the next step, find out more below.
If you received a positive result from the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test (also known as a rapid HIV self-test), you will need to go to a clinic for a confirmatory test. This confirmatory test will confirm whether you have HIV or not. HIV self-tests can sometimes show a “false positive” result, meaning that your test says you’re positive but you actually don’t have HIV.
You cannot use a second HIV self-test from the Together TakeMeHome program to confirm these results.
PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is medicine that reduces your chances of getting HIV from sex or injection drug use. When taken as prescribed, PrEP is highly effective for preventing HIV. Click here for more info about PrEP.
If the test from the provider is positive, that means that you have HIV, and you should begin treatment as soon as possible. The treatment is called antiretroviral therapy. Most people living with HIV can manage their HIV with only 1 pill a day. Usually, you can start HIV treatment the same day you receive your test result at a clinic.
People living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. Taking your meds every day–called treatment adherence–can reduce your viral load (the amount of HIV in your body) and help you become undetectable. Being undetectable means that your HIV is managed and that you can’t pass HIV on to your sex partners.
Everyone reacts differently to their HIV diagnosis. Be kind to yourself however you’re feeling about it. When you’re ready to talk about it, reach out to a trusted person and tell them what is going on so they can support you. You can also find a mental health provider or join a support group if you aren’t ready to tell your loved ones yet. There are online forums to talk to other people living with HIV for support. Be sure to ask your HIV medical provider about mental health support resources available through their clinic.
Click here to learn more about the Ryan White program, which provides financial support for HIV medications and other medical care. You can also reach out to your state HIV hotline to get connected to local resources.
You might feel awkward, scared, or worried about their reaction. When you get your results from your confirmatory test at the clinic, someone there can help notify your partners for you if you want.
For tips on how to tell partners yourself, here are some suggestions. If you want to tell your partners yourself, but want to do so anonymously, TellYourPartner.org provides a way to text them. You’re helping them make sure they can get tested and treated quickly if they also have HIV.
This can be a huge life transition, but please know that there is support waiting for you.
Start Your Journey: A step-by-step process for what you should do after an HIV diagnosis
Stop HIV Together: Comprehensive information on prevention, testing, treatment, and talking about HIV stigma
Have questions about your results? Call OraSure at 1-866-436-6527 or go to their website.