Do-It-Yourself – Test Yourself
Pilot-Project for HIV-Self-Testing
Soon there will be yet another way: You will be able to get an HIV self-test from manCheck at selected locations, which you can use to test at home.
manCheck, in cooperation with the Deutsche AIDS-Hilfe e.V. and supported by the Berlin senate and the Robert-Koch-Institute, will provide HIV self-tests in the Berlin scene starting October 2018.
If you see us in clubs, bars or at any other location, just ask us about the tests. In case you already received an HIV-self-test from us, then we would really appreciate, if you fill out our short online questionnaire.
If you have already received an HIV self-test from us, we would be happy if you then fill in our brief online survey. You also have the opportunity to participate in a raffle and win one of three vouchers for Bruno’s over 50 €. Click here for it.
An HIV self-test is an HIV-test that is easy to conduct at home. The test requires some blood to be taken from the fingertip, which is then placed in a test device. The HIV self-test will display the result after approximately 10 minutes. Like other common testing procedures, the self-test does not detect HIV directly but the antibodies produced against the virus.
Caution: Antibodies only appear after some time. Therefore, the test can only reliably rule out a potential HIV infection after 12 weeks. This means that the result “HIV negative” is only valid after 12 weeks.
The self-test is suitable for people who want to determine if they have been infected with HIV but do not want to frequent a doctor’s office, a counseling service or a checkpoint. Reasons for this could include not wanting to “out” yourself, not having access to a counseling service or checkpoint close by or just seeing self-testing as a more comfortable alternative. The self-test is therefore an opportunity for all those who did not dare to get tested before or for those who do not want to travel long distances.
HIV-self-test, like all HIV-tests, should always be conducted at one’s own will. Your health is in your hands only and your partner(s), friends, employers (in case you are a sex worker) do not have the right to demand an HIV-test from you or to force you to take an HIV-test!
If you are uncertain about testing yourself, just contact a counseling service. There you will be gladly assisted. You will also be able to do a test there and get detailed information concerning your result.
What should I take into account if I take medication to prevent an HIV-infection?
The HIV-self-test is not suitable for people who are currently taking a postexpositionsprophylaxe (PEP) or a preexpositionsprophylaxe (PrEP).
It is possible that these medication cause the HIV-self-test to display a negative result even though you are infected with HIV. If you are taking PrEP or PEP you have to get consulted at your doctor’s office, a counseling service or your local AIDS-Hilfe.
Why should I test myself regularly?
Those who know their status can receive treatment. An immediate start of an antiviral therapy has two major advantages:
The self-tests are designed to be very sensitive and therefore can “overreact” occasionally. If this happens, they display a reactive result, even though there is no infection present. Therefore a self-test must be confirmed by an additional test conducted by a laboratory. This confirmatory test can be done by doctors, in centers for sexual health, directly in a laboratory or in a test project. Only if this test comes back positive as well, you can be certain about an HIV infection.
If the self-test result is reactive, there are ways to receive support, also in evenings and on weekends:
Even though there are many places where one can get tested, there are still a relevant number of people, who have not been reached by testing offers. They are getting diagnosed too late or not at all and can therefore not start therapy early.
Studies in several countries have shown that self-tests have a positive impact on testing behavior. Until now self-tests were not authorized for private use. Previously a lot of self-tests offered were also imprecise and often delivered wrong results. Today these tests are much more reliable (the test that will be handed out by manCheck is to 99, 9% accurate). HIV has also changed. An HIV diagnosis is not as dramatic as in the past.
You will also find more information on:
If you want to do an HIV test or get tested for several sexually transmitted infections (STIs) now, you can do this here.