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SNS 24
( Updated at 09/04/2024 )
3 minutes of reading

What are HIV screening self-tests?

These are tests that rapidly detect antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), through a few drops of blood after a finger prick.

Why are they called self-tests?

They are commonly known as self-tests, or self-diagnostic tests, because they are done by the person themselves.

Where can I buy HIV self-tests?

Self-tests are available at pharmacies or over-the-counter (OTC) outlets.

How much does the self-test cost?

The self-test for screening for infection by HIV, which is authorized by INFARMED, can cost between 20 and 25 euros, although the price may vary depending on the place of sale (free price).

Do I have to present my ID when purchasing the self-test?

No. The anonymity of the user is safeguarded when purchasing the self-test.

What information do I get when I buy a self-test?

When you buy a self-test for < infectiona style="user-select: text;" title="human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener">HIV you will be given clear and objective information about:

  • the correct use of the device
  • the actions to be taken in the event of a reactive, non-reactive, or inconclusive result

When should I self-test?

Self-test should be performed after a risky behavior, for example:

  • have had unprotected sex with a partner you don't know if you have an infection HIV or with known infection
  • contact with sharp objects with blood from a person who does not know if they have an infection HIV or with a known infection that occurred at least 3 months ago (immunological window period)

Can the same self-test be used multiple times?

No. The self-test can only be used once and by a single user.

How do I self-test?

All instructions for the correct use of the test should be found in the package insert of the self-test.

How long do I have to wait to know the result?

The result of the self-test for < infection>style="user-select: text;" title="human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)" href="" target="_blank" rel="noopener"HIV is displayed up to 15 minutes after it is performed.

The self-test result was non-reactive. What now?

Having a non-reactive result means that no anti-HIV1 and anti-HIV2 antibodies were found. That is, you are probably not infected. However, if you have had recent risk behaviour and the test was carried out within the immunological window period (before 3 months after the risk situation), you may need to repeat the test after a few weeks. Advice on ways to prevent transmission of HIV.

The self-test result was reactive. What now?

Having a reactive result means that anti-HIV1 and/or anti-HIV2 antibodies have in principle been found. This result may mean that you are infected. < style="user-select: text;">In this case, you should contact SNS 24 – 808242424 – to be referred for an appointment at a hospital of your choice, where a confirmatory test (laboratory analysis) will be done and, if the infection is confirmed, treatment will begin.

Can I choose the hospital where I want to have an appointment?

Yes. The referral process for hospital consultation is based on the user's free choice. At the time of referral, an up-to-date list of available hospital consultations is provided, from where the patient chooses the hospital to which he or she wishes to be referred.
Thus, the request is registered on a specific platform (CTH – Consulta a Tempo e Horas), ensuring the maximum response time (7 working days from the date of registration of the first consultation request).

Source: Directorate-General for Health

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