HIV Testing

You cannot tell just by looking at someone if they have HIV. The only way to know is to get tested.

If you think you may have been at risk of HIV it is very important to get tested. It is thought that a quarter of people estimated to be living with HIV in Scotland are unaware of their infection. Knowing your HIV status gives you the best chance of receiving the best treatment, care and support.

There are various ways to test for HIV.

Clinic Services

Visit a local sexual health clinic, your GP, addiction services or contact THT to speak to a healthcare professional who can guide you through the testing process. This would involve a small sample of blood taken from the arm or a drop of blood taken from your finger. Depending on the type of test and when you think you may have been at risk, you may be advised to take a repeat test after 3 months.

Rapid Testing

Terrence Higgins Trust Scotland now offer a free 20 minute HIV test and result. For further information on this please contact 0141 332 3838 or email:

Self Test Kits

Instant result kits for HIV do as the name suggests ; they are kits that you can use to test yourself for HIV. They give a result straight away and you can use them wherever you like with no need to involve a doctor or nurse unless you want to.

Be careful though! Only buy kits that you are certain meet European safety standards and carry the ‘CE’ mark. So far, there is only one test kit that has this quality mark. For more information please visit

These kits are only accurate if used correctly and it is important to remember that HIV can take up to 3 months to show up in your blood. It is also important that you get a healthcare worker to confirm any positive results. This is standard practice for all HIV tests and will make sure you get the correct information, care and support you need quickly.


There are lots of ways to test for HIV. Whilst self test kits can be quick, convenient and feel more private, you may prefer to get tested by a healthcare worker who will give you the chance to get tested for other sexually transmitted infections, talk to you about any concerns and advise you of any other services that may be of help to you.