Testing is one of the most important things you can do to prevent new HIV and STI transmissions in Aotearoa.

Most new HIV transmissions occur when people don’t know they are living with HIV and aren’t on treatment, and many common STIs often don’t present with symptoms. For this reason, testing should be part of your regular sexual health schedule, not just something you do when something hurts or symptoms pop up.



What testing option is best for me?

Note: The options below do not include treatment. If you’re worried you may have an STI, it’s best you contact your nearest sexual health clinic. If there isn’t one in your area, you can also visit a GP in person or online, or Family Planning.

If you receive a positive result when getting tested with us, we’ll support you with what next steps you can take.


Get tested in-person at one of our centres

If you’re in Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland, Te-Whanganui-ā-Tara Wellington or Ōtautahi Christchurch, you can get tested at one of our centres:

  • Tests done by one of our skilled peer-testers
  • Includes rapid test for HIV + syphilis – with quick results (60 seconds)
  • We can also take swabs for a full STI screening; however, these are processed at a local sexual health clinic so you won’t get results straight away for these
  • Doesn’t involve drawing blood, so perfect if you don’t like needles
  • Also a great opportunity to discuss safer sex practices and HIV prevention tools

A note on syphilis: Rapid tests may also pick up historic infections, so if you’re worried you may have an infection, it’s best to get a blood test at your GP or sexual health clinic.

Test your gear: We have partnered with The Level NZ to run free and confidential clinics at all our centers where you can also have your drugs checked at the same time. 

Person using an at home test kit


Get a self-test

If getting tested at one of our centres is not convenient, or if you’d rather something more confidential, you can order one of our self-test kits:

  • You can choose between 2 options:
    • An oral HIV-only test (free)
    • HIV & STI testing (from $20)
  • Delivered in discreet packaging, or pick up from discreet locations
  • Includes simple instructions on how to do each test at home (or wherever you choose)
  • HIV test results available within 20 minutes


Outreach testing

We also offer both a range of testing options, including HIV- self-test vending machines) at select outreach testing locations, such as:

  • Sex-on-site venues
  • Universities and polytechnics
  • Regional health clinics


Where else can I get tested (and treated)?

You can also access HIV and STI tests and treatment at your local GP, community health centre, or sexual health clinic, which may involve going to a lab after a referral.

STI check, hand with blood droplet, mouth with tongue poking out

How often should I get tested?

This is a very common question – and to be honest, there isn’t one answer to suit everyone as it really depends on how you’re having sex and how often.

To make things easier, we’ve developed an online tool that will give you an indication of recommended frequency based on your current circumstances.


HIV and STI symptoms and window periods

A ‘window period’ is the period of time when HIV or another STI may be present in your system but not detectable by certain tests.

The length of the window period differs, depending on the virus or bacterial infection in question, and it may vary from person to person as everyone responds differently to HIV and other STIs. However, here is some guidance:

  • Chlamydia: 1-2 weeks
  • Gonorrhoea: 1-2 weeks
  • Syphilis: 3-12 weeks
  • HIV: 4-12 weeks

Symptoms of HIV and STIs vary. Itchiness, pain, bleeding, sores, and discharge around your genitals are common for STIs, whereas for HIV it can feel more like a flu.

It’s common for symptoms to not appear at all, or in the case of HIV, it can take years for symptoms to develop. That’s why it’s so important that you test regularly.

If you’re currently experiencing any symptoms, it’s best not to have sex until you’ve done your test and know your status.



Mpox is not technically an STI, however it behaves a lot like one. Unfortunately, mpox isn’t included in standard STI screenings, however you can find out more about mpox and how to treat and prevent it here.

  • Chlamydia

    Chlamydia is a bacterial infection that can infect the mucous lining of the penis, anus or eyes.

    Keep reading…
  • Gonorrhoea

    Gonorrhoea is a bacterial infection that lives in the mucous lining of the penis, throat, anus or eyes.

    Keep reading…
  • Syphilis

    Syphilis is a bacterial infection that infects the penis, throat or anus and then spreads to different parts of the body through the bloodstream.

    Keep reading…
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Anything you share with peer testers, or our organisation as a whole, is completely confidential; you don’t even need to tell us your real name! The only time we need to use a real name is if you are being referred on to a Sexual Health Service or specialist – and you would be asked permission to do so if this happens.

If you’re DL, and/or especially conscious about confidentiality, read more about how you can make testing as discreet as possible.


Testing positive for an STI

The first thing to remember is that it’s ok – it happens and is way more common that you think! Putting any judgment on yourself, or anyone you think might have given it to you, really won’t do you any good. The good news is that all common STIs in Aotearoa are easy to treat, so the earlier you know, the better prepared you can be.

If you’re with a peer tester, they will give you all the information about what to do and how to deal with the situation, including treatment.

If you’re taking a HIV self-test, the test instructions will tell you what to do in this instance. If you have completed testing for syphilis, chlamydia or gonorrhoea (through Sexual Health 101 self-tests) you will be contacted if you have returned a reactive/positive result with instructions for next steps

In both cases, it’s important for you to let your recent sexual partners know (anyone within the last 3 months, to be safe), so they can also get tested. This can be a stressful process – we’ve developed an STI notification generator that you can use if you’re stuck finding the right words.

Person in a counselling session


Testing positive for HIV

Everyone responds to a positive HIV test result in their own way - there is no right or wrong way to handle the news. The first thing that will happen is you will be referred on to specialist care who will run a test to confirm your result and give you your diagnosis.

It’s important to take a deep breath and remember these things that might help in this moment:

  • You are not going to die. In Aotearoa, you can be connected to free treatment as soon as possible – likely the same day (even if you’re not eligible for funded healthcare).
  • Today’s treatments mean that HIV is a manageable condition, and your life expectancy likely remains the same.
  • Starting HIV treatment as early as possible increases your chances of getting the most health benefits from your medication.
  • Most people on effective treatment get to what is called an undetectable viral load – which means that there is zero risk of passing on HIV.
  • There is plenty of support available to help you understand a positive result, answer any questions you have, as well as help you to navigate the health system. We are here to support you.



If you’ve already explored our website, you’ll know that there are several ways that you can protect yourself from HIV and other STIs, all of which are even more effective when done in combination with another form of prevention. Your options are:

Condoms and lube: Condoms and lube are the most effective way to protect yourself from acquiring both HIV and STIs. Condoms provide a physical barrier that viruses and bacteria can't pass through. When used consistently and correctly, condoms are extremely reliable. Make sure you use lots of lube for anal sex – it’s absolutely essential for having a good time! We’ll send you as many free condoms are you need.

PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis): This is a daily pill that is an extremely effective HIV prevention method. However, it doesn’t prevent any other STIs, like syphilis or gonorrhoea - so it’s a good idea to keep condoms in the mix to protect from these.

PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis): This functions much like the morning-after pill, but for HIV. It’s a month-long course of medication you can take, starting within 72 hours of possible HIV exposure. While this shouldn’t be relied upon, it’s a very useful tool for emergency situations.

U=U (Undetectable = Untransmittable): An undetectable viral load is when the amount of HIV in a person’s blood (their viral load) is no longer able to be detected by a standard viral load test for HIV. People living with HIV who are on antiretroviral treatment and maintain an undetectable viral load for at least six months cannot sexually transmit HIV, and the vast majority attain this.


Can I use doxycycline (doxy) to reduce transmission of STIs?

Recent studies have shown that taking doxycycline within 72 hours after having sex can lower your chances of contracting certain STIs such as chlamydia, syphilis, and gonorrhoea. This is called DoxyPEP.

While we know that some doctors, both in Aotearoa and overseas, are prescribing doxycycline for this purpose, more research is needed to fully understand the pros and cons of using doxycycline in this way (including the risk of bacterial resistance to doxycycline if using DoxyPEP becomes more common).

We will be monitoring the research and availability of doxycycline as a prophylaxis in Aotearoa and will keep our communities updated as more information becomes available.


Featured FAQs

How long does an HIV test take and when can I get the test results? I had sex without a condom a few weeks ago and I'm really worried.


Wondering if you could be at risk? Use our tool to find out your risk.

A rapid test for HIV at one of our clinics will give you results in just 20 minutes. Book a free and confidential test now.

Or you can order a self-test and get your results at home in 20 minutes. 

Keep in mind evidence of HIV can be detected by some tests as early as 2 weeks after exposure, but it may take up to 3 months. Everyone responds differently to the virus.



Is an HIV test done through a GP 100% accurate? What kind of test are they?


GPs send people off to a lab and blood is taken there. People then have to wait a few days for results, but these tests are 100% accurate.

Our rapid HIV tests are 100% sensitive to HIV, they are FDA approved and 98.9% specific to antibodies, and you will get your result in a few minutes. 

Book a test or order a self test here. 

I don't want anyone to find out I'm testing for HIV & STIs


If you test at a NZAF clinic anything you share is completely confidential. You don’t even need to tell us your real name.  You can also order a self-test which will arrive in discreet packaging so you can test privately. 

I’m afraid of the results of a HIV test


We promise you, it’s better to know. If the result is positive, your life isn’t over. You will be connected to care and support and can live your life with the same dreams and goals. You’ll also likely get to an undetectable viral load and then HIV won’t be transmitted through sex – even without condoms.

Why should I test?


Testing is one of the most important things you can do to help end HIV transmissions in New Zealand. Most new HIV transmissions occur when people don’t know they are living with HIV and aren’t on treatment.

I don’t have any symptoms, do I really need to test for HIV & STIs?


Testing should be a part of a regular sexual-health schedule, not just something you do when things hurt or pustules pop up. Not having any symptoms is pretty common with HIV and a lot of other STIs – you should still be testing regularly.

What are the signs/symptoms of having HIV?


Not everyone who gets HIV will experience any short-term symptoms. So, symptoms or not, it's important to test twice a year - or more often if you haven't been playing safe.  In some people, symptoms may occur from two to four weeks after HIV infection and may include flu-like symptoms that are easily confused with other infections, such as fatigue, fever, night sweats, sore throat, swollen lymph nodes, headache, loss of appetite or skin rash. These symptoms usually last less than two weeks although they can last as long as 10 weeks. If you‘ve recently had unprotected anal sex and experience any of these symptoms, you should have an HIV test with NZAF, your emergency room, GP or sexual health service.

Also, keep in mind that not all doctors will recognise the symptoms of HIV. If you see a doctor because you have one of the symptoms listed above, it’s important to explain that you feel at risk of HIV and ask to be tested, even if they don't suggest it. Don't assume you will be tested for HIV just because they take your blood. Ask to be sent a copy of the results.

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