HIV testing

Providing confidential screening, advice and treatment 

It is important not to delay getting an HIV test if you think you might have HIV. You can have a test even if you do not have any signs and symptoms.

You will usually be offered an HIV test when you go to one of our clinics.

How can I get an HIV test?

If you want an HIV test, please walk in or book an appointment at any of our clinics.

Alternatively, check the SXT website for your nearest clinic.

How long does it take before the infection will show up in my blood sample?

It can take up to three months after coming into contact with HIV before it is detectable in the blood. This is known as the window period. HIV can still be passed on during the window period even though it can’t be detected.

As HIV may not show up on the test straightaway, you may be asked to go back for a test three months after you had the sex that put you at risk of HIV.

What does the test involve?

We will take a sample of blood either from your arm or from a finger prick. We will be looking for HIV antibodies, or antibodies and the p24 antigen together.

Don’t be frightened of asking questions about anything you are not sure about.

Before you decide to have a test, you may wish to talk to someone about the implications that this could have on all aspects of your life, and about who might have access to the HIV test result. Our health advisers can help you with this.

Some people feel sure that they would like to know whether they have HIV or not, but may not want to discuss it at first. You should choose to do whatever feels right for you.

New approach to HIV screening

The Trust has become the the first in the UK to test all patients having a blood test in the Emergency Department routinely for HIV. The strategy has seen an increase in the number of people diagnosed with HIV who were previously unaware of their status.

Dr Christian Jessen, who presents Channel 4 programmes such as Embarrassing Bodies, and Councillor Donatus Anyanwu, the Mayor of Lambeth, came to the hospital’s Emergency Department to support National HIV Testing Week, which ran from 21-28 November 2015.

Doctor and television presenter Christian Jessen performed an HIV test on the Mayor of Lambeth at St Thomas’ Hospital on...

Posted by Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust on Tuesday, 24 November 2015