I remember a time when hearing the words “you are HIV+” or “you have AIDS” meant a death sentence. It’s true that at the time we didn’t know much about this disease and didn’t realize that through healthy habits you could live a long life. I remember the first time I took the dreaded HIV test because I wanted to apply for au pairing overseas. The test itself is easy, the wait thereafter for the results as well as the counselling in between is the real bitch (pardon my French). I sat there for 15 minutes, waiting…sweat forming on my brows, thinking about ways I could’ve contracted the virus, how I’m going to tell my family (or not) etc. You make promises to God that if it’s negative you’ll turn your life around blah blah blah. The worst part is that you’re in the waiting room with strangers and they are witnesses to the metaphorical hell that you’re going through and they’re silently judging you as if they’re not there for the very same reason, I absolutely hated that feeling.
I’m pretty sure the wonderful people at Atomo heard my silent prayer that day because they introduced the HIV self test that you’re able to do in the comfort of your home where the only judgmental eyes would be those in the mirror. If you’re like me and you’re absolutely squirmish when its comes to blood and such you can ask someone to assist you but that’s an extra set of eyes, just saying.
What does the kit consist of?
Atomo offers an alternative to Standard HIV rapid test kits. It combines key functionality into the test. A contacted activated safety lancet that automatically locks out after use. A blood collection and delivery system to safely collect and deliver the correct blood volume to the test strip which is inside the device. The product has been designed to simplify the test process and can be used by a wider range of users, including non clinical users such as consumers.
Why would you want to do a self test?
An HIV self test allows you to find out your status in the privacy of your own home. HIV self-testing does not provide a final diagnosis or result. Instead, it is a screening test that shows the presence of cells/antibodies in your blood which fight HIV. A self test is very accurate, but a positive test needs to be verified with another blood-based test. This can be done at a laboratory or with your healthcare provider. Use the map on the HIV care near you page to find out where to go.
Never accept the final result of a positive test. Remember, the test only tests your status from four weeks ago; if you have contracted HIV in the last four weeks, it will show up as negative.
What do you need to take the test?
You need four items i.e. your Atomo Test, tissue or wipe, a timer and the Atomo test bottle.
1. Before you start get familiar with all the steps and watch the video here. Wash and dry your hands and check the expiry date on the test.
2. Massage your finger for 5-10 seconds
3. Gently turn and take out the green tab, then discard it
4. Push grey button in to prick finger (remember it only pricks once so prick hard)
5. Place test on instructions next to results
6. Squeeze firmly behind prick to get blood
7. Fill blood tube with blood. If blood tube isn’t full, squeeze finger and add more blood (if you’re having difficulty, wipe finger clean and squeeze again)
8. Keep test on table. Now flip blood tube over to the well
9. Add 2 drops in the well
10. Wait 15 minutes before reading the result. Do not wait more than 20 minutes
(you’ll get an illustrated instructional leaflet in your kit to assist you)
-If one line appears at the C, you tested negative. Test again after 3 months
-If two lines appear, even if faint,you tested HIV positive. Go to a clinic for further testing.
–If no lines appear at the C, the test did not work. Go to a clinic for further testing
To request your kit and do a self test in the comfort of your own home, head over to http://hivselftesting.co.za/what-self-testing/