HIV Testing

If you are concerned about HIV there are a number of ways you can obtain a test. It is usually a simple blood test or a finger prick test.

It is important to remember 2 things:-


Post-exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)

If you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV in the last 72 hours, you may be entitled to PEP.

PEP is a treatment to stop a person becoming infected with HIV after it’s got into their body. It makes it a lot less likely for HIV infection to occur, but doesn’t work every time. It might be used if you have had unprotected sex, or a condom has broken, and you are at high risk of contracting HIV.

PEP is available at Balfour Hospital A&E department.


Window Period

It may take up to 12 weeks for a HIV test to become positive. This means that a negative test today cannot rule out that you have picked up HIV in the last 12 weeks.


Where can I get a test?


AT YOUR GP SURGERY – your GP will be able to discuss the pros and cons of HIV testing and also offer you other STI screening.

AT A SEXUAL HEALTH CLINIC – these tests are usually sent anonymously i.e. using a number rather than your name. You can call the Nordhaven Clinic to arrange a test or attend our drop-in clinic on Wednesday afternoons.

FREE SELF-TESTING KITS – We are pleased to announce the start of a pilot in NHS Orkney to provide free self-testing kits for HIV. This will run along side the free Condoms by Post service. 

A HIV self-testing kit will be posted out to your address. By following the simple advice, you can have your result within minutes. Please see the following information about HIV Self Testing Kits: Quick Guide to Instant Result HIV Self-Test Kits

If you test positive for HIV, this must be repeated on a sample taken by your GP or by a sexual health service, such as the Nordhaven Clinic.

If you would like us to send you a free kit, please fill in our request form: HIV Self-Test Request Form

A POSTAL TEST - Fasted Direct Scotland - will post out a free testing kit to anyone concerned about HIV. The kit is returned by post and the result will be available in a few days.

BUY A HOME TEST - HIV testing kits are now available to purchase on-line from These tests cost about £30 and use a fingerprick test. The result is available in 15 minutes. However a positive test should always be followed up by a blood sample taken by a healthcare professional.

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