With an at-home rapid antibody test, like the HIV Saliva Test, it takes less than 5 minutes to perform the test and you will have your results in about 15 minutes.
If you go to a doctor’s office or clinic you will generally spend between 30 minutes and 3 hours at the clinic and will usually not get your results the same day. For NAT and blood draw antibody/antigen tests that need to go to a lab it will generally take several days for you to get your results.
HIV tests are normally done very quickly, however, a visit to an HIV testing center or clinic itself typically takes much more time than performing an at-home test.
In a clinic, the most commonly taken sample is blood drawn from the vein, as it provides the most reliable results as early as possible after a potential infection.
If the sample is sent to a laboratory for a NAT analysis, a few days are typically needed to process it. If the clinic performs a rapid test, however, the HIV test results are normally ready after 30min. These can sometimes be sent to you via email, but some clinics will ask you to come back later that day or the next day.
We also must take into account the time needed to go to the clinic, wait for your sample to be collected there, the time it takes for the clinic to actually send the results, and the time it takes from when you want to get tested until an appointment is available (provided it’s not a walk-in clinic).
All things considered, a clinical HIV test can turn out to be a multi-day project that, depending on how far the nearest testing institution is from you and how much it costs, can pose more or less of a practical and financial inconvenience to carry out.
On the other hand, at-home tests can be done in the privacy and convenience of your own home, with a finger-prick blood sample or a saliva swab.
The preparation and sample collection take no more than 5min, and your HIV status becomes available in around 15min. The results themselves are as reliable as in clinical tests, especially if more than 3 months have passed since suspected exposure.
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