HOW THE TEST WORKS
When your body detects something harmful (like a bacteria or a virus) your immune system starts to produce antibodies to try and defend your body. Each type of antibody is unique and it is the antibodies to HIV this are detected by your BioSURE HIV Self test,(not the actual HIV virus)
The technology utilised is very similar to a pregnancy test and the strip inside your testing device looks for specific antibodies in your blood sample.
Each BioSURE HIV Self Test has an inbuilt control line (the top line) which makes sure that the test has been performed and run correctly. The control line, is a sample control line and it will only become visible if the correct volume of human blood has been applied. This means you can be confident that your HIV test result has been generated by a test that you have done properly.
All unregulated tests in South Africa DO NOT have a sample control line, this means they will give a negative result EVEN IF YOU DO NOT DO YOUR TEST CORRECTLY. They will give even give a negative result if no blood at all is put onto the test! This is a very big risk and it is called a ‘false negative’. It is a waste of money and a risk to your health if you do not buy an approved test.
If there are no antibodies to HIV in your blood only one line will appear and this is a negative test result.
If there are antibodies to HIV in your blood, they will be detected by the Result Line. This is why two lines are a positive result (the second line).
The time from when HIV infection occurs to when a test can correctly give a positive result is called the ‘window period’. Everybody makes these antibodies at different times and during this period, someone who has been infected with HIV may still get a negative HIV test result because they will not have made enough or any HIV antibodies. This means there will not be enough antibodies in their blood sample to generate a positive result. This does not mean the person testing is negative. In fact, because there are not enough antibodies, the amount of HIV virus (the viral load) in their body is very high and this early (acute) phase is the most infectious period.
You must remember that everybody makes antibodies at different rates. Whatever a test says on it’s packaging, a negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after infection. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 6 weeks you should go to see your local healthcare professional who will be able to send a sample of your blood for a laboratory test.