Resources

About HIV/AIDS

  • What is HIV and AIDS?

    HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s defense against illness. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV and AIDS can’t be cured, but the medications available today help people live normal life spans.

  • How does someone get infected with HIV?

    HIV spreads through contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of an infected person. Transmission can occur from unsafe sex.

    It can also result from exposure to blood through the sharing of used syringes or needles.

    Women living with HIV can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It is also possible to become infected with HIV through a blood transfusion, although this is now very rare.

    HIV cannot be passed on from one person to another through casual contact. There is no risk of infection when we share everyday items such as food, dishes, utensils, clothes, beds and toilets with a person living with HIV.

    The virus is not spread from contact with sweat, tears, saliva, or a casual kiss from an infected person. People do not become infected from eating food prepared by a person living with HIV. People have not become infected with HIV through insect bites.

About the INSTI® HIV Self Test

  • How does the test work?

    The test uses simple flow-through technology to detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies using a drop of human fingerstick blood. The test does not detect the virus itself. The test dot will only be visible if HIV antibodies are present. The INSTI® HIV Self Test is simple to perform and very accurate, but it will only work correctly if you carefully read and follow the instructions. You may test positive with INSTI® HIV Self Test in as little as 21-22 days after infection1, however, it can take as long as 3 months to produce a positive result. A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after infection.

    1. Moshgabadi N, Galli RA, Daly AC, Ko SM, Westgard TE, Bulpitt AF, Shackleton CR., 2015. “Sensitivity of a rapid point of care assay or early HIV antibody detection is enhanced by its ability to detect HIV gp41 IgM antibodies.” J Clin Virol. 2015 Oct;71:67-72.

  • What is an antibody?

    Antibodies are produced by your body’s immune system in response to pathogens. Their purpose is to defend us against infection.

  • How accurate is the test?

    Extensive research studies have shown that this test is extremely accurate when performed correctly. The accuracy of medical tests is typically described in terms of sensitivity (all truly positive individuals test positive) and specificity (all truly negative persons test negative). INSTI® HIV Self Test has been shown to have a sensitivity of 99.8-100% and a specificity of 99.5-99.8%.

  • What is the ‘window period’?

    This is the time from the HIV infection to when a test can correctly give a positive result. You may test positive with INSTI® HIV Self Test in as little as 21-22 days after infection1, however it can take as long as 3 months to produce a positive result.

    A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after the infection. If you think you have been exposed to HIV within the last 3 months, and your results are negative, you should test again after at least 3 months have passed since your exposure.

    1. Moshgabadi N, Galli RA, Daly AC, Ko SM, Westgard TE, Bulpitt AF, Shackleton CR., 2015. “Sensitivity of a rapid point of care assay or early HIV antibody detection is enhanced by its ability to detect HIV gp41 IgM antibodies.” J Clin Virol. 2015 Oct;71:67-72.

Results

  • How will I know if my test was done correctly?

    The INSTI® HIV Self Test has a built-in control dot to show that the test has been performed correctly and that you have added the proper amount of fingerstick blood. If the control dot does not appear, your test has not worked. Please discard your test and retest with a new test.

    If only the control dot is visible it means that your result is negative and you probably do not have HIV.

    If two dots are visible your test result is positive. This means you likely have HIV. Although the results of the INSTI® HIV Self Test are very accurate, you MUST have a positive result confirmed by a doctor as soon as possible so that treatment can be started immediately. It is essential for your health and wellbeing that you seek medical advice if your result is positive.

  • What if your result is negative?

    Continue to make efforts to stay negative by reducing risks of exposure to HIV, such as practicing safe sex and other prevention methods.

    If you believe that you have been exposed in the past 3 months, repeat testing after 3 months.

    It is recommended to test every 3-12 months if you are high risk to acquiring HIV.

  • What if your result is positive?

    Go to your doctor or nearest testing facility to receive confirmatory testing. Remember that any HIV self test is a screening test only and is not a conclusive diagnosis.

  • What if your result is invalid or you are unsure of your result?

    Visit your doctor or nearest testing facility for further testing.

Questions on Performing the Test

  • Bottle 1 won’t fit into the hole

    The hole is designed to fit Bottle 1 securely so that it won’t tip over and spill during the fingerstick blood collection process. Gently push down on Bottle 1 to fit snuggly in the hole before removing the cap.

  • Will the lancet hurt?

    You might feel a slight pinch. It does not matter which finger you use, the blood will be the same.

  • What happens if I spill some of the contents of Bottle 1, Bottle 2 or Bottle 3?

    As long as the control dot shows a visible dot after pouring Bottle 3 into the membrane unit, the test results are valid.

  • I can’t see any dots

    Make sure you have adequate lighting. If no dots are visible, you may not have completed the test correctly, or collected enough blood. You will need to do another test.

  • The contents of Bottle 1, Bottle 2 or Bottle 3 do not absorb into the membrane unit.

    It is very rare for this to happen, but if it does, you will not be able to complete the test procedure and read the results. You will need to perform another test.

  • How do I dispose of my test?

    A sealable, plastic bag is included with your test. Place all components back into the box, including the lancet, pipette, tissues (used to clean up spills) and solution bottles, place the box into the bag and seal. You can then throw the bag away with your household waste.

    Countries may have their own disposal regulations. Please follow your country’s regulations to dispose of the product. For example, according to the French legislation, you must dispose the lancet in the yellow bins at your pharmacist (for collection points and more info go to dastri.fr). All other kit components can be disposed in the regular household garbage.

Publications

  • Sensitivity of Five Rapid HIV Tests on Oral Fluid or Finger-Stick Whole Blood: A Real-Time Comparison in a Healthcare Setting

    Pavie J, Rachline A, Loze B, Niedbalski L, Delaugerre C, et al. (2010) Sensitivity of Five Rapid HIV Tests on Oral Fluid or Finger-Stick Whole Blood: A Real-Time Comparison in a Healthcare Setting. PLoS ONE 5(7): e11581. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0011581

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0011581

  • Evaluation of the accuracy and ease of use of a rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test performed by untrained operators at the point of care

    Galli R, Green K, La Marca A, Waldman L, Powers R, Daly A, Shackleton C. (2013) Evaluation of the accuracy and ease of use of a rapid HIV-1 Antibody Test performed by untrained operators at the point of care, Journal of Clinical Virology, 58(1):e65-e69.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S138665321300348X

  • Twelve Months of Routine HIV Screening in 6 Emergency Departments in the Paris Area: Results from the ANRS URDEP Study

    Casalino E, Bernot B, Bouchaud O, Alloui C, Choquet C, et al. (2012) Twelve Months of Routine HIV Screening in 6 Emergency Departments in the Paris Area: Results from the ANRS URDEP Study. PLoS ONE 7(10): e46437

    http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0046437

  • Rapid HIV tests in acute care settings in an area of low HIV prevalence in Canada

    Lee B, Plitt S, Fenton J, Preiksaitis J, Singh A. (2011) Rapid HIV tests in acute care settings in an area of low HIV prevalence in Canada, Journal of Virological Methods 172(1–2):66-71.

    http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0166093410004635

  • Detection of Early Sero-Conversion HIV Infection Using the INSTI™ HIV-1 Antibody Point-of-Care Test

    Cook D, Gilbert M, DiFrancesco L, Krajden M. (2010) Detection of Early Sero-Conversion HIV Infection Using the INSTI HIV-1 Antibody Point-of-Care Test. The Open AIDS Journal. 4:176-179. doi:10.2174/1874613601004010176.

    http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3069355/