Talking about home testing for HIV

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Reliability of test results

Please I need some serious answers. After taking a couple of biosure tests, both negative, this after a few years potential exposure, I was feeling more confident, but decided to take a blood test at clinic to be sure. I wont get the results for a week or so but was shocked what the hiv consultant said when I told him about biosure self test results. He said “please, I don’t want to know about finger prick test. These are totally unreliable and inaccurate. Just a way to make money.”. Those were his exact words. He said forget about those results, they mean nothing. I was shocked. I absolutely know that a self test is not as reliable as lab test, but I was taken aback by how he completely dismissed it. Could you please shed some light on this, in terms of reliabity and accuracy of results? He made is sound as absolutely pot luck on whether results are accurate or not and it has scared the hell out of me. Surely biosure tests must have gone through some rigerous testing on accuracy of picking up hiv infections? Please help.

3 Responses

 Used on 30th June 2020

Thank you for responses and for your explanation and links. I personally was not questioning the validity of your tests, I was just shocked how the Dr completely dismissed two negative results with self test kit as totally worthless. As you point out, I know hiv self tests are high stakes, and boots and superdrug stock yours? and terrace Higgins trust sell them, and they must go through rigerous testing. I guess anyone who has worried about hiv for months knows, you search day and night on Internet about it and understand that no test is 100% not even lab ones and some hiv + people do get missed. I also know I might have a rare strain of hiv that self trust doesn't pick up, or be one of those seronegative people who don't produce antibodies, or maybe even the biosure has produced two false negatives? I don't know yet. All I know was the Dr made it feel as there was zero hope that the negative tests were accurate. Sorry for the long reply, obviously very scared and nervous ahead of results next week. If I do test positive can I contact biosure directly about possible reasons for 2 negative results??

Becky, BioSure UK Ltd
 Work on 30th June 2020

Hi Totallyworried, Sorry for not getting back to you sooner. We are shocked that a doctor would completely dismiss our product but we understand that some do not trust self testing and this is something that we take into consideration. Our product is CE marked and would not have been approved for sale if the test did not meet all the necessary regulatory requirements. Please see the information in the 'Question on accuracy' post written by our Clinical Director, Gary. He explains all the relevant information to answer your question regarding accuracy and reliability fully. Self testing is not for everyone. We offer the chance to self test so those individuals who may be anxious about testing in a health care environment or who may be scared to test due to the social stigma associated with HIV etc. can test more comfortably. These individuals have the choice to test whilst in the comfort of their own home. No labs, no waiting and no questions. Doctors may not see self tests as wholly reliable due to the nature surrounding whether someone who recieves a positive result will self refer themself and subsequently get on treatment. But this is absolutely not true. We know from experience that if someone happens to receieve a positive result using our test, they have the capacity and the willingness to want to access treatment and be safe and healthy. Additionally, anyone who receives a positive result must get their result confirmed by a healthcare professional following from it. Self testing essentially allows you to test in your own time and on your own terms. Lab tests are slightly more accurate but this takes into account the fact that they are performed by a health care professional. Usually, most invalid self test results are due to human error. The BioSURE HIV self test has a built in sample control line which essentially means that if the test is faulty or the user does not follow the instructions, the control line will be absent and it will be clear to the user that the test has failed. We have over 5 years of extensive research into self testing and we are extremely proud to offer a product that truly makes a difference to the way that someone can test for HIV. I hope this information helps, if you have any other queries, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you. All the best, the BioSure team.

PEBL Administrator
 Work on 29th June 2020

Hi TotallyWorried - This is PEBL administrator. Even though you posted on 26th June, your post wasn't cleared and put up on site until today (29th). Sorry for that - we're usually quicker. So today (29th) is the first day that anyone will have seen it. I am sure that someone will answer your question. I am not a medical professional or a scientist - but I would honestly be very surprised if the finger prick tests on sale round the world are "totally unreliable and inaccurate". In the UK, the highly respected Terence Higgins Trust distributes the tests, and I doubt that they would do that if they didn't think the kits were any good.  (see :- If you look at other threads on the PEBL site about accuracy and reliability I think you will find at least some reassurance. See, for example:- Best wishes from PEBL, and thanks for posting!

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