HIV self-test: for rapid screening

HEYME student health insurance

Available in France since 2015, the HIV self-test is a rapid screening test for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) that can be performed at home. It works through an immunological reaction that allows the visual detection of anti-HIV1 and anti-HIV2 antibodies in the blood. This anonymous test facilitates access to screening and meets a public health need.

The HIV self-test, what is it exactly?

It’s a kit that you buy in pharmacies and which allows you to carry out HIV screening from a drop of blood via a lancing device. You can do it alone, at home and only in a few seconds.

This test can be performed at any time of the day and does not require fasting. Before using the HIV self-test, it is best to read the instructions carefully and to bring a timer. To obtain a reliable result, it is necessary to wait between 15 and 20 minutes after the launch of the test.

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Why do an HIV self-test?

According to the Institut de Veille Sanitaire, approximately 30,000 people in France are unaware of their HIV status and risk spreading the virus.

The HIV self-test is a complementary tool to the laboratory screening device. It is very practical for people wishing to have their HIV serology assessed after possible exposure to the virus. To guarantee the reliability of the result, it is imperative to wait at least 3 months (12 weeks) between the last risk taking and the performance of the self-test.

Are the results of a self-test 100% reliable?

No HIV self-test is 100% reliable. False positive or false negative results are possible and it is recommended to accompany the HIV self-test with laboratory screening.

Is the self-test reimbursed by Social Security?

To date, the HIV self-test is not covered by health insurance.

How does an HIV self-test work?

Based on the immunochromatography technique, the self-test does not require any specific instrumentation other than that provided in the kit.

From a drop of blood taken at the end of the finger using a lancing device, the HIV self-test makes it possible to expose anti-HIV-1 and/or anti-HIV-2 antibodies.

The result appears as a strip in 15 minutes.

If in doubt about the result obtained, consultation with a doctor is essential.

The lancing device included in the HIV® self-test kit is secure, its needle is retractable.

Where to buy your HIV self-test?

The HIV® self-test is sold without a prescription in all pharmacies. Its price varies between 18 and 30€. Minors can obtain it without parental consent. Populations at risk, people who do not wish or cannot go to the laboratory to carry out screening or people in precarious situations, can benefit from the HIV self-test free of charge. For any information, Sida Info Service can be reached on 0800 840 000 (free and anonymous) or on

Delivered without a medical prescription, the self-test includes:

  • an illustrative note to help with its realization
  • a lancing device to obtain the drop of blood
  • a self-test with integrated sampling device to detect anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2 antibodies
  • a bandage

How to interpret the result of an HIV self-test?

  • A positive HIV self-test shows two pink/red colored bands (a control band and a test band). They appear after 15 minutes.
  • A negative HIV self-test shows a single pink/red colored band (control band). It appears within 15 minutes after the self-test.
  • If the result of the HIV self-test is positive, after laboratory confirmation, the HIV carrier must be taken care of immediately by a doctor.
  • If the result is negative, the person is most likely not infected with HIV and can be reassured about their serology if the last risk taking or potential exposure to HIV dates back more than 3 months.

Can the same HIV self-test be used several times?

No. An HIV self-test can only be used once and by one person. All items in the self-test box are for single use only.

Can I call a helpline for more information about HIV self-testing?

You can call Sida Info Service (0 800 840 800, anonymous and free call). Your contact person will answer all your questions relating to HIV as well as the use and interpretation of the HIV self-test 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

You can also contact your pharmacist or an AIDS association.

Recall : Wearing a condom during sex is the only effective way to protect yourself against HIV.

Avoid sharing drug use tools (straws, syringes, etc.).

If you think you have been in contact with HIV, go to an emergency department as soon as possible, post-exposure treatment is available. It does not totally eliminate the risk of contamination, but reduces it significantly if taken within 4 hours of exposure.

For more information contact:

AIDS Info Service on 0 800 840 800

And at HEYME, what does mutual insurance give?

At HEYME from €9.90/month we cover your essential needs: hospitalization, routine care, pharmacy. And if you need extended coverage, we offer 4 levels of guarantees to meet your expectations.

Regardless of the level chosen, you have unlimited access to medical teleconsultation 24 hours a day with ABI. You can consult a doctor from your smartphone and directly from your sofa!

We also provide you with an app to view your reimbursements, download your third-party payment card, send us your documents and find a doctor near you!

And the icing on the cake… an app with good deals and discounts on your favorite brands: shopping, cinema, restaurant…

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