What postal testing kits are available?
You can now order free confidential STI tests by post for Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, HIV and Syphilis if you live within one of our service areas, are over 16 and don’t have any symptoms.
We don’t offer Hepatitis B or C testing online but this is available in our clinics. We recommend these tests for those in higher risk groups including men who have sex with men, sex industry workers, swingers, those born in high prevalence areas and injecting drug users.
How does postal testing work?
There are 5 simple steps:
- Order your test online
- Receive your kit in the post or pick up from your chosen collection point (normally within 48 hours)
- Take your samples and return asap in the freepost envelope
- Get your results by text (normally within 4 working days)
- Book in for treatment (if needed) online or by phone
How do I check if I'm eligible and order a kit?
To find out if you’re eligible for a free postal test, click on the button below and answer a few quick questions. We offer this service to people living within our sexual health service catchment areas. If you don’t live in one of these areas, we’ll signpost you to your nearest NHS service where you will be able to get tested for free in clinic and possibly online.
How quickly will you receive your kit?
After you place an order online, a test kit will posted the next working day to your chosen delivery address. We send these by Royal Mail so they should reach you within 48 hours but it can take a little longer to arrive if you order on a Friday or over the weekend. If your test kit hasn’t arrived within 5 working days, please call your local service.
If you’ve chosen a click & collect location, we’ll keep your test kit for 6 weeks in case you can’t reach us straight away. After 6 weeks, we will assume that any unclaimed kits are no longer wanted and will return them for re-use.
What will the kit look like when it arrives?
Your test kit will arrive in a plain envelope with only your name and address on the front. Inside, you’ll find everything you need to provide us with samples that we will then test in the laboratory. For your confidentiality, your name will not appear on the samples or the freepost return envelope.
The type of kit you receive will depend on the answers you’ve given us when placing the order. This will include either a urine sample pot or self-swab to test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea and a finger prick test if you’ve ordered an HIV and Syphilis test.
How do you take the samples?
There are full instructions in the pack. If you have ordered a finger prick test for HIV and Syphilis, please watch the video below. This explains how to take a sample correctly. If you’re doing this for the first time, please watch this all the way through before attempting to take your sample.
How quickly do you need to return the samples?
Once you’ve taken your samples, you should return them straight away in the freepost envelope provided. All of our kits have a 4 month expiry date so please make sure you use and return them as soon as you can.
Please note: STIs do not show up immediately in test results so you might be given the all-clear by mistake if you take the sample too soon. If you’re testing for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea only, we recommend waiting to take your samples until 2 weeks has passed since the unprotected sex that you’re worried about. If you’re testing for HIV and Syphilis, it can take up to 12 weeks for these to show up in tests so you might want to wait or re-test once 12 weeks has passed.
When and how will you get your results?
We send results by text message 4 working days after we receive the samples, often sooner. If you have not heard back from us after 5 working days, please call your local service.
You will receive one of two messages:
- “Your test results are all negative. This means that we did not find any infections. Visit http://tinyurl.com/jspy5kp to find out how to reduce your risk”
- “The results of your tests are available. Please call xxx for more information. Clinic walk-in times are also available on http://tinyurl.com/zswu7ny”
If you receive the second message, this does not necessarily mean you have an STI. Sometimes we need to repeat the tests or ask a couple of questions before we can confirm the results. However, it is important that you call us as soon as you can.
‘Reactive results’: Occasionally low level ‘reactive results’ occur, which may be classed as a non-specific positive. If your test result is reactive you will be invited to attend one of our clinics for a confirmatory blood test which will then reveal a negative result or confirm a positive.
Can you still have sex while waiting for results?
If you think you have an STI, it’s best to stop having sex until you’ve received your results. If you do have sex before getting your results, be sure to follow safer sex practices including using a condom.
What happens if my test is positive?
First of all, please don’t worry. Our services are here to support you and one of our experienced clinicians will discuss your treatment options during your appointment. For many STIs, we can provide treatment on the day and this can be as simple as taking a course of antibiotics.
During the appointment, you will be asked how you would like to tell your sexual partners that they are at risk. This is essential to prevent any further spread of STIs and to make sure they get treatment if needed. This is always done very sensitively and we can do this for you so you don’t have to disclose your identity. You can read more about partner notification on this website and how we support you through this.