Rapid HIV test
You can get yourself tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections free of charge. This article contains information on the test and explains how you can take the rapid test for HIV and a number of other sexually transmitted infections.
If you have been in a situation where you were exposed to a risk of infection during the last 48 hours, you can contact the emergency medical service and ask to take a course of medication which can help prevent the HIV virus from becoming established in your body. This course is known as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). Sexually active men who have sex with other men are at greater risk of becoming infected with HIV.
If you have an active sexual life with multiple partners, it is recommended that you test yourself routinely at least once a year. You should test yourself more often if you have unsafe sex or if a condom you or your partner is using splits.
Why you should take a rapid test for HIV
If you are unsure, it is best to know your HIV status. If your test result is negative, you can stop worrying about your health. If you test positive, you will be given the necessary support to prevent serious illness associated with your HIV infection. An untreated HIV infection can severely weaken your immune system and lead to permanent and serious health problems.
If you are HIV-positive, receiving the right medical treatment will minimise the risk of you infecting other people. Not everyone who becomes infected with HIV experiences severe symptoms, so you can become infected without being aware of it. It is therefore risky to wait too long to be tested.
What the rapid HIV test involves
You finger will be pricked with a needle. The drop of blood that is produced is mixed with chemicals and the result will be known in just a few seconds. Results from the rapid test are considered to be very reliable, but if your result is positive, a normal blood sample will always be taken and sent to a laboratory for analysis.
During an initial discussion, you will be told that the result of an HIV test is about 80% certain around two to three weeks after you become infected. Not until three months later will the result of the test be 100% certain. Any questions you may have about the test will also be answered.
The result is confidential
Healthcare professionals have a duty of confidentiality and you are entitled to confidential treatment. In connection with the test, any questions you may have about safer sex will be answered and you will receive information on how HIV infection is passed on to other people.
You also have a chance to bring up other issues concerning sexual challenges, sexual identity, living with a partner and relationships generally.
If you test negative
Most people test negative. A negative test is a good sign that you are not infected with HIV. The result of an HIV test is about 80% certain around two to three weeks after you become infected. Not until three months later will the result of the test be 100% certain. If less than three months have passed, you can arrange another appointment for a 100% reliable test.
A negative test will not protect you against infection in the future, and it is important that you continue to take precautions in order to avoid infection. This will help you avoid worries and anxiety which could take away the pleasure of otherwise enjoyable sexual experiences.
If you test positive
A positive test result means that you are infected with HIV, which is a difficult message for most people to take in. You must remember though that you are in good hands.
You will be given the chance to continue the discussion at the centre where you were tested. You will be given help to contact a friend, partner or family member if you need someone to be with after you are told the test result. The test centre will refer you to a department of infectious medicine for follow-up and treatment.
A positive HIV test result is not a "death sentence". With proper medical follow-up and support, it is possible to live a long and good life as an HIV-positive person. If you are HIV-positive, receiving the right medical treatment will minimise the risk of you infecting other people.
Hiv og aids
Read about HIV and AIDS, symptoms, course and what it is like to live with the diagnosis (in Norwegian).
Where you can take the rapid HIV test
Anyone can ask their GP for a test for HIV or other sexually transmitted infection. The testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections is free in Norway. For some people, one of the many centres which offer the rapid HIV test will be a suitable option or a supplement to regular health check-ups with their GP.
A rapid test will give you the result instantly and can be taken anonymously. Anyone who has had unprotected sex with someone they do not know the HIV status of should consider getting themselves tested for HIV.
You can take a rapid HIV test at the following centres. Most centres will also be able to test you for other sexually transmitted infections. Visit the links below to find information about the services they provide and their opening hours.
The Minuttest.no service is a rapid test service which is specifically intended for immigrants in Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Stavanger and Haugesund.
Aksept – senter for alle berørt av hiv – offers the rapid HIV test.
Health Center for Undocumented Migrants – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.
Checkpoint– anonymous rapid test for men who have sex with other men (msm) – run by volunteer peer supporters. They offer rapid tests for both HIV and syphilis, as well as tests for gonorrhoea, chlamydia and mycoplasma. The service is free and anonymous.
Olafia Clinic – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.
Sex og samfunn – centre for young sexuality – offers free drop-in service covering tests for all sexually transmitted infections for anyone under the age of 25.
Sex og samfunn – health service for people who buy sex – offers the rapid HIV test to anyone who buys sex or is undergoing PEP (post exposure prophylaxis).
Nadheim – service for people who sell or have sold sexual services – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.
Haukeland University Hospital – Outpatient clinic for sexually transmitted infections – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.
Church City Mission in Bergen – Living with HIV – offers the rapid HIV test.
Stavanger University Hospital – Outpatient clinic for sexually transmitted infections – offers testing for all sexually transmitted infections.
Albertine - service to people with experience of prostitution – offers the rapid HIV test.
St. Olav’s Hospital – Outpatient clinic for skin and venereal diseases – offers testing for all sexually transmitted infections.
Aksept og Mestring - Church City Mission – offers the rapid HIV test.
Social Medical Center – offers the rapid HIV test and testing for all sexually transmitted infections.
Sentrum legesenter – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.
Testivest.no – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections (but not the rapid HIV test).
Kirkenes legesenter – offers tests for all sexually transmitted infections.