You[TEST] — Helping you test for HIV in New South Wales

By Emen8, updated 2 months ago in Health / Sexual health

happy man with glasses looks at his mobile phone at home

For New South Wales residents, you[TEST] is a free and convenient HIV testing service from the comfort of your own home.

Restrictions in Greater Sydney and across New South Wales could make it difficult to access a sexual health service right now. As a response to COVID-19, many testing sites are running at reduced capacity with modified hours. If you want to get tested, you can always visit a doctor to test for HIV as well as other STIs. Alternatively, you can access you[TEST].

With you[TEST], testing for HIV is in your own hands — literally. You connect with a trained peer via virtual appointment who will walk you through the testing options and answer any questions you have about the process, before getting sent one of two easy-to-use self-collection kits for you to do the test yourself.

The service is for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (both cis and trans) in New South Wales who are 18+, and you don’t need a Medicare card. If you aren’t eligible for you[TEST] and want to get tested for HIV, contact the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624.

you[TEST] is run by peer educators — guys from our communities — and your entire appointment will only take around 30 minutes.

you[TEST] operates Monday, Tuesday and Thursday between 3pm – 6pm.

To book a test at you[TEST] visit Ending HIV.

To find other sexual health testing services in New South Wales and across Australia, check out our interactive map.

“With you[TEST], testing for HIV is in your own hands — literally.”

What to expect

you[TEST] is a virtual service, meaning your appointment with the peer is done via video call.

During your appointment, the peer will ask some questions to determine your eligibility to test. If you are eligible for testing, you will be offered either a HIV self-test kit or a Dried Blood Spot (DBS) kit. Both kits differ slightly but each are highly effective at detecting HIV. The peer will give a demonstration and send you the test kit of your choice.

The kit will be sent in plain packaging for discretion and comes with resources and instructions so that you have all you need to do the test at home by yourself.

What is the HIV self-test?

The HIV self-test comes with a small cartridge and involves a finger prick to draw a small amount of blood. The result of the test is usually ready within 15 minutes. The test can be done at home or wherever you feel comfortable.

Watch the demonstration video of the HIV self-test below.

The world’s first integrated HIV Self Test

What is the Dried Blood Test (DBS)?

The DBS is a ‘self-sampling’ test which involves a few drops of blood from your finger that is placed onto a card enclosed in the kit. Once the blood has dried, you mail it to the laboratory and once your result is ready, it is given to you by phone, text or email. The test can be done at home or wherever you feel comfortable.

Watch the demonstration video of the DBS kit here.

What if I want to get tested for STIs other than HIV?

The HIV self-test and DBS do not test for other STIs such as gonorrhea, chlamydia or syphilis. If you want to test for other STIs, are experiencing symptoms such as itching or discharge from your cock or arse, or if a recent sexual partner has informed you that they have been diagnosed with a STI, you should see a doctor or go to a sexual health clinic to get tested.

I’m nervous talking about my sexual health over a video or phone call

It’s understandable — sharing your personal information to someone who’s not in the same room as you can feel nerve-wracking. Your entire appointment will be done in confidentiality with a peer who will be sitting in a private room, so anything you discuss will remain between the two of you.

You[TEST]’s peer educators are guys from our communities who are trained in sexual health. Any questions or queries you might have about your sexual health, they can help you out with, and they won’t make any judgment — they’ve heard every story under the sun!

I’m nervous about testing by myself

You might be nervous about getting tested, but rest assured, it’s easy and not as scary as you think. You[TEST] peers are trained to provide a demonstration so before you do your test you’ll know exactly what to do. All kits also come with testing instructions, resources and links to online demonstrations.

If you still find the thought of testing by yourself daunting, why not make another appointment and chat with a peer.

What if I make a mistake while doing the test?

Mistakes happen, especially if it’s something you’re doing for the first time. If you make a mistake and need a replacement, simply contact the team by emailing youtest@acon.org.au and the team will send another test out to you.

If you feel like you need another demonstration, simply book another appointment and have a chat with a peer or just email youtest@acon.org.au.

“you[TEST] is run by peer educators — guys from our communities — and your entire appointment will only take around 30 minutes.”

What if I get a reactive result?

If your test result comes back reactive, it’s normal if you feel shocked, confused or upset. While the HIV self-test and DBS test are accurate, you will need to have a blood test to confirm that you have HIV. HIV blood tests are available at your local sexual health clinic or doctor. Find your nearest testing service with our interactive map.

If you’re continuing to have sex while waiting for a result, be sure to use condoms and discuss HIV prevention options with your partner(s).

All test kits come with information about support services to assist you to take the next steps.

Learn more about testing positive for HIV and HIV treatment.

I’m ready for my appointment, what do I do?

After you made your booking you should have received either an SMS or email notification with a link. Just before your appointment, open this link in your browser and you will be asked to enter your name. Be sure to enter the same name you used to make the booking so when you click through to the virtual ‘waiting room’ the peer will be able to connect with you and start the appointment.

What devices can I use for the appointment?

Any mobile, tablet or computer device with video and microphone capability and a reliable Internet connection can be used.

Is you[TEST] provided in languages other than English?

If you are seeking assistance in a language other than English, you are encouraged to consider the DBS test and visit the DBS website which offers resources in Chinese, Indonesian, Khmer, Thai, Vietnamese, Arabic, Portuguese, French and Spanish.

What if I don’t have access to video for the virtual appointment?

If you don’t have access to video for the virtual appointment with the peer, you are encouraged to consider the DBS test and visit the DBS website. The DBS test does not require a virtual appointment to be eligible for the test.

Information in this article is reproduced with permission from Ending HIV.