We're now Burnett Foundation Aotearoa

Ending HIV & New Zealand AIDS Foundation have changed our name to Burnett Foundation Aotearoa, after one of our founders - Bruce Burnett. Find out more

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

 

Want to Test for HIV or STIs?

Order a self HIV & STI testing kit from us, get a rapid in one of our centres or find a place to test near you. 

Why Test?

Why should I test?

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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?

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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.

 

Testing 101

Rapid tests – finger pricks or self-test swabs

In our Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch centres we offer rapid finger-prick tests. This test will give your results very quickly (between 10 and 40 minutes) and don’t require a blood draw with needle and syringe, so are perfect for those a bit scared of needles.

 

Home tests 

You can also order a home HIV or STI test-kit from us. Everything is super confidential. Your kit comes in discreet packaging and has simple instructions on how to do each test at home.

The home test HIV tests have an oral swab (no finger pricks or blood), and results are usually available in 20 minutes.

The full STI screening kits have all of the tests for syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV, all in one go!

How Often Summary

How often?

You can use our testing frequency tool to find out how often you should be testing, as well as sign up for helpful reminders to keep you on track.

 

Window period

The window period is what we call the time when HIV may be present in your system but not detectable by certain tests. During this period (usually 4-12 weeks) someone could be highly infectious due to the rapid replication that occurs when first exposed to HIV and a test would still show they were HIV negative.

This is why a negative result should always be confirmed by a follow-up test around 12 weeks later.

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. Your tester can explain this to you when you come in for an appointment

 

STIs

You can order full STI screening self-test kit from us and test for syphilis, gonorrhoea, chlamydia and HIV, all in one go (from anywhere).

Our clinics only rapid-test for HIV and syphilis in our clinics but can help you take swab samples and send them to a Sexual Health Service (SHS) to run a full STI screening.

If you are already presenting symptoms of an STI or have been contacted about testing via contact tracing, we cannot test you and will need to refer you to SHS. Please go directly to SHS or your GP if you have STI symptoms or have been contact traced.

A lot of STIs can be prevented by using condoms, but not every time and there are still ways they can be transmitted – so, testing regularly is your best way of reducing the chance of passing them by detecting and treating any STIs early.

  • 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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Confidentiality

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. “Right this way Mr Lady Gaga, our tester will see you now”. 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.

Dlow? Read more about testing on discreet testing for DL guys.

Click here to get a full breakdown of your rights and our privacy practices.

 

Common Concerns

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

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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

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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.

 

Positive result

Everyone responds to a positive 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
  • Today’s treatments mean that HIV is a manageable condition and your life expectancy is the same as an HIV-negative person
  • 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 HIV cannot be passed on sexually
  • There is support available to help you come to terms with a positive result, answer any questions you have, as well as help you to navigate the health system and life with HIV

Testing elsewhere?

Standard HIV tests – lab bloods

GPs, hospitals and most sexual health clinics don’t do rapid HIV testing. Expect a standard HIV test if you go to one of these places. As with many other blood tests, blood will be drawn into a vial and sent to a lab for processing. You will usually wait 5 to 7 working days to receive your results from a standard HIV test. If your doctor is not aware that you are having anal sex with guys, it will be important to specifically ask for HIV to be included as part of a sexual health screening test.

If you are not comfortable disclosing your sexual activity to your GP, you could also attend a sexual health clinic. Sexual health clinics regularly see gay, bi and down-low clients and their services are usually free. 

STIs

Staying on top of your sexual health means testing for other STIs regularly, as well as HIV. GPs and Sexual Health Services will be able to organise full STI screenings for you. This will likely be a blood test and urine sample or swabs.

A lot of STIs can be prevented by using condoms, but not every time and there are still ways they can be transmitted – so, testing regularly is your best way of detecting and treating any STIs early to reduce the chances of passing them on.

NOTE: We are currently in a syphilis epidemic in NZ, you should be testing for syphilis regularly and encouraging partners to do so too.

Featured FAQs

Is an HIV test done through a GP 100% accurate? Is it the same as a rapid test that NZAF does?

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GPs do not offer rapid tests. They 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. 

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.

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

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.

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