HIV (AKA the Human Immunodeficiency Virus), like all STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections) is a fairly embarrassing condition and one that many of us are afraid to face up to. A lot of us will therefore avoid seeing the doctor when we suspect that we may have HIV or something similar – while still knowing that it is vital to get diagnosed as soon as possible. Thus HIV 'home test' kits have become very popular, allowing individuals to test themselves for HIV from the privacy of their home.
When looking into using a HIV home test kit, it is important to first of all check that the kit is FDA approved which will give you some reassurance that it is effective and will concur with what doctors' findings may be. The FDA approval code is an 11 digit code that can be found normally on the kit. The way in which HIV test kits work is by allowing you to send off your own blood sample (by pricking your finger and allowing blood to land on the blotter) and then wait 24 hours before phoning the lab with that 11 digit code (the other advantage of this code is that it allows you to get your results without having to give away any personal information such as your name).
As the test is carried out by professionals in a laboratory this test is just as efficient as going to the doctor's. However it is probably still preferable for you to visit the doctor if you can. This is because they will be able to discuss with you your sexual history and any symptoms that might have caused you to believe you were HIV positive. They can discuss the situation with you, put you at ease, and flag up any other potential problems that could be related to your symptoms. Bear in mind that should your test come back as positive then you will have to see the doctor anyway – and if it does not then there is nothing to be embarrassed about. Also remember that HIV is not just spread through sexual contact so you could easily have gotten it from a dirty needle or another source. However, certainly if you are unable to see a doctor or really do not want to, a home HIV test kit is the next best thing.