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HIV Blood tests look for HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood.  Antibodies and antigens are produced after exposure to HIV infection and a blood test can detect them in most people after 6 weeks from point of exposure.  The  rapid HIV test used by PRONTO!  tests for antibodies and can only detect them after 12 weeks from point of  exposure. This delay between exposure and production of antibodies  and antigens is known as the Window Period.

Getting tested
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There are currently two ways you can get tested for HIV in Victoria – a rapid test or a conventional blood test.

Either way, getting an HIV test in Victoria currently involves giving a blood sample. In the case of a rapid HIV test – by a quick fingerprick with a result available 10-20  minutes later. The second option is a conventional blood test which involves blood being taken from a vein in your arm which is then sent off to a laboratory for  testing – this can involve you waiting for up to one week to get your result.

In order to get a result that covers any event where you may have risked being exposed to HIV, we advise that you wait a minimum of 6 weeks before you have a conventional blood test. The window period for a Rapid HIV test must be 12 weeks post exposure. Your test facilitator will advise you when to test and also how often you should consider testing.

Testing services
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The Centre Clinic is our LGBTI community general practice offering confidential and medicare bulk-billed HIV and STI testing, For more info on the Centre Clinic click here or phone (03) 9525 5866.

We also provide free, confidential rapid HIV testing for gay men and other men who have sex with men at PRONTO! located at 175 Rose Street, Fitzroy. Plus, PRONTO! now offers bulk-billed STI testing in addition to rapid HIV testing. For more info or to schedule an appointment, click here or call (03) 9416 2889.

For all other testing service locations see: Melbourne Sexual Health Centre.

It is a good idea to get tested for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) at the same time as having an HIV test. Most people with an STI show no symptoms.

You cannot be tested for HIV without your permission.

Testing positive
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If your initial test is positive for HIV antibodies, you must then get a second test to confirm that the first one was accurate.

This is the case whether you have had a rapid test or a conventional blood test and is standard practice. The rate of false positive results is very low. Once your diagnosis is confirmed your Doctor will discuss with you the way forward.

Support and information for people newly diagnosed with HIV or who have been living with the infection for some time is available from the following VAC/GMHC services:

Support is also available from:

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