Rapid HIV tests can give results in 15—60 minutes, or on the same day.
‘Rapid’ refers to the time taken for the results and not the time since exposure that a test can be used.
If samples are being sent to another lab, results can take a few days or a few weeks.
Rapid blood tests put a pin-prick of blood on a testing strip. This test takes about 15-20 minutes so you can get the results whilst you wait.
Some rapid tests also work on oral samples rather than blood. Although they are sometimes called saliva tests this is not accurate. Oral samples collect cells from the surface of the gums and not saliva. These cells contain HIV antibodies.
When samples are sent to a lab you can either collect your results in person or they will be posted out to you. It is your responsibility to get the results. A few clinics may give results over the phone.
A positive result from a rapid test always needs to be confirmed by a different laboratory test.