Tips & Tricks for HIV Self-Testing

Thanks for ordering an HIV self-test kit from Test@Home!

Need support? Have questions about the HIV self-test, or HIV in general? Reach out to a Test Now Buddy.

Test Now Buddies are available by phone, text and email to offer peer support and guidance about how to use an HIV self-test correctly. They can also connect you to resources such as confirmatory testing and HIV prevention tools.

Toll Free Call/Text: 1-877-607-2272
Email: [email protected]

How can I prepare for taking the HIV self-test?

  • Watch an instructional video, read the directions carefully, and review this pamphlet.
  • Consider talking to a friend, a healthcare provider, or a Test Now Buddy.
  • Find a safe environment and make a plan for what you will do after your test.
  • You may want to do the test alone, or you may want someone you trust to be with you.

You are welcome to connect with a Test Now Buddy anytime. They can provide support before, during or after you use the test.

Tips for using the HIV self-test:


  • If the test is cold or hot from being outside, let it get to room temperature before use.
  • Watch one of the instructional videos and go over the instruction sheet carefully before using the test. Visit:
  • Have a clean tissue available to wipe your finger if needed.
  • Open the bandaid so it’s out of the package and ready to use.
  • Read the result in a well lit area - even if the dot(s) are faint, it is a valid result.


  • Dry your hands very well after washing them. Damp hands can make it harder to get the blood sample to drop into bottle #1.
  • Remove the cap from bottle #1 before pricking your finger.
  • Massage your finger towards the tip before the finger prick. Once you’ve pricked your finger, you can continue to massage it to help with the blood flow.
  • Use a full drop of blood when testing.
  • Once you add the blood sample to bottle #1, the liquid should be a similar colour to its red cap. If the liquid is pale red, add an extra drop of blood.
  • To get the blood into bottle #1, gravity and patience can help! Once the blood drop is big/heavy enough, it will fall down. Avoid scraping your finger on the bottle.
What happens if I get an invalid result?
  • We know this can make some folks feel anxious. First, double-check the result in a well lit area - even if the dot(s) are faint, it is a valid result.
  • If you’re still unsure you can try another HIV self-test, or see a healthcare provider and get a standard HIV test. (Visit to find out where to get HIV testing near you.)
  • Connect with a Test Now Buddy for support.

If your test results are positive, negative, or invalid - you’re welcome to reach out to a Test Now Buddy for peer support.

A positive result requires a confirmatory HIV test, where blood is taken from your arm and sent to a lab for testing.

When should I use the HIV self-test?

It takes time for a sexually transmitted infection (STI) to show up on a test. This is called the “window period”. No test can detect HIV immediately. The HIV self-test detects HIV antibodies (the body’s immune response), not the virus itself. It can take 3 to 12 weeks for a person’s body to make enough HIV antibodies for an HIV self-test to detect them. If you are concerned about a specific incident in the last 72 hours, go to the ER for HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP).

Pass it on!

  • Let people know they can order up to 4 HIV self-tests here:
  • Help us spread the word by sharing information through social media. Visit the website above for easily shareable promo materials.
  • Use the tests yourself, or pass them on to others.

Tell us about your experience

Fill out a short survey about your experience. These programs were designed by and for members of the 2SLGBTQQIA+ community. Your feedback will help us advocate for continuing these services.

Screen_Shot_2023-01-06_at_12.29.27_PM.pngTake a look at the pamphlet.

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Tips & Tricks for HIV Self-Testing
Tips & Tricks for HIV Self-Testing
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