After a risk situation or at the start of a new relationship, having an HIV test is a good option as it provides clarity and safety. The regional AIDS Advisory Service, GPs, hospitals or Checkpoints in your area offer tests.
What is a risk situation?
- Unprotected vaginal or anal intercourse, especially in a region with a high number of infected people (e.g. Sub-Saharan Africa, Estern Europe, Southeast Asia)
- A condom mishap: ripping, slipping off or inappropriate use, poor quality or poorly stored condoms.
- Needle sharing by intravenous drug users.
I had unprotected sex. Should I get myself tested?
I am slightly afraid of having the test. What should I do?
Fear is never a good advisor. Only by having the test and getting the result will you get an answer. Visit a regional AIDS centre in your area, they will stand by you and give you advice. If you prefer, you can telephone them for more information.
Should I get advice or simply just get myself tested?
After being in a risk situation, the most important thing is to know from the test whether there is an infection or not. On the other hand, receiving counselling has the advantage that your particular situation will be discussed in detail. So, if the result is positive, the person concerned can be told about the medical, social and legal situation. This offer of counselling is known as Voluntary Counselling and Testing or VCT.
Where can I be tested anonymously?
You can be tested in hospitals, at Checkpoints or at regional AIDS centre in your area, without having to give your name. But you must then pay for the test yourself. Test Centers
How much is an HIV test?
The prices for an HIV rapid test vary (between 45 and 60 francs). If you take the test anonymously, you should be prepared to pay for it yourself. If the test is carried out on the instructions of a doctor or in a hospital, your health insurance company will cover the costs.
When is the test result reliable?
An HIV-negative result can reliably rule out infection with HIV six weeks after a risk situation. This is how long it takes for the immune system to build up antibodies against HIV.
An HIV-positive test result can detect the presence of HIV in the blood at an earlier stage, but it is important that the first HIV-positive result is confirmed by a second HIV test.
What is the earliest point that I can do an HIV test?
It always makes sense to do a test if you have been in a clear risk situation. This is possible at the earliest two weeks after that risk situation, because some people will already have built up antibodies against HIV by then. If this result is positive, a second test to confirm it is done immediately.
However, a negative test result cannot reliably rule out an HIV infection until six weeks after a risk situation. This is because people build up antibodies at different rates after becoming infected, and this can take up to six weeks in borderline cases. This means that after a first test with a nagative result, a confirmotion test is required at least six weeks after the risk situation.
Must I use protection for six weeks until I get a reliable negative test result?
Yes. The Safer Sex Rules protect your partner (male or female) from possible HIV transmission during this time.
Will anyone be notified if I'm HIV positive?
No. This information is subject to medical confidentiality. You alone decide who you want to tell about your HIV infection. For statistical purposes, however, a report must be submitted anonymously to the Federal Office of Public Health.
Can I be tested for HIV without my consent?
No. An HIV test can only be carried out with your voluntary consent.