We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.
- Best overall: Everlywell
- Best for frequent testing: LetsGetChecked
- Best for fast delivery: myLAB Box
- Best HIV-specific option: Verisana
- Best for tracking in an app: iDNA
- Best budget option: OraQuick
HIV damages the body’s immune system. But with treatment called antiretroviral therapy, HIV is a manageable health condition. In fact, treatment can make HIV undetectable in the body, which makes the virus untransmittable sexually. The idea that “undetectable equals untransmittable” is known as U=U.
According to HIV.gov, about 1.2 million people in the United States live with HIV today, and 14 percent of them (1 in 7) don’t know they have it. At-home HIV tests are one way to know your HIV status. They can help you avoid an in-person doctor’s visit, save time, and start treatment sooner if needed.
Read on to learn about the different types of at-home HIV tests, plus our recommendations.
There are two types of at-home HIV tests on the market. It’s important to follow the test’s instructions carefully, which may vary by test:
- Antigen/antibody test. This test looks for both HIV antibodies and antigens. The immune system produces antibodies when exposed to viruses like HIV. Antigens are foreign substances that cause the immune system to activate. For HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced even before antibodies develop. Antibodies can take up to 3 months to develop. These tests are performed with a blood draw.
- Antibody test. This test looks for antibodies (IgG) to HIV in the blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner than at-home tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibodies take time to show up in the blood.
There are also different methods that can scan for HIV:
- Oral swab. A quick oral swab is all that’s required to check for HIV antibodies in the saliva. It takes anywhere from 20 to 40 minutes for results. But saliva and blood may have different sensitivities when being tested for HIV. Sensitivity is the ability to get a true lab result. According to a 2019 paper in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology, blood is more sensitive than saliva.
- Finger prick. These over-the-counter tests require pricking a finger in the same way blood sugar or ketone levels are measured. The sample goes on a special paper that’s sent to a testing lab. It can take up to 7 business days to get the results.
- Urine sample or vaginal swab. Some tests check for multiple sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Depending on the specific infection, they may require an additional urine sample or vaginal swab to be sent to a lab.
To compile this list, we looked at at-home HIV tests offered by
- Price: $49.99 with free shipping; health savings account (HSA)/flexible spending account (FSA) accepted
- Type of sample: finger prick
- Results: within 5 business days
This test screens for HIV antibodies. You can purchase tests on the Everlywell website or at Walmart or Amazon.
When you send the blood sample, it will be tested at a CLIA certified lab. Your information is stored in an encrypted system that accommodates security with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
You’ll get a detailed digital report with your results. The test screens for antibodies that can take 23 to 90 days to be detectable after exposure. This HIV test can usually detect an HIV infection only 18 to 45 days after exposure because it also checks for HIV p24 antigens (viral proteins) in the blood.
If test results are positive, you can connect with the Everlywell physician network at no additional cost.
Learn more about Everlywell here.
- Reviews say digital results are easy and fast.
- Free shipping and memberships are available.
- Tests for antibodies and viral proteins.
- May take longer than you’d like.
- For people who get faint at blood, a finger prick might be taxing.
- If the test is taken too close to the time of potential exposure, the results may be wrong.
Best for frequent testing
- Price: $149; membership option saves 30 percent; HSA/FSA eligible
- Type of sample: finger prick and urine sample
- Results: 2 to 5 business days
LetsGetChecked is a testing company that offers several options at various price points. The HIV test is included in a combo package called the Standard 5, which checks for:
The other option is to purchase the Complete 8 package. It includes the five STIs listed above and the bacteria Mycoplasma, Ureaplasma, and Gardnerella (bacterial vaginosis). The price for the Complete 8 is $249.
After the lab results are ready, a physician will review your report. You can then arrange a call with a LetsGetChecked clinician if you have any questions or concerns.
If medication is needed, you can get it at no additional charge. Prescribing guidelines vary by state and diagnosis. All shipments arrive at your door in discreet packaging.
The membership option sends you tests every 3 months.
Learn more about LetsGetChecked here.
- CLIA certified and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) accredited laboratories will analyze the sample.
- Delivery is discreet.
- Official lab report can be viewed digitally.
- You can’t buy an HIV test without buying a package.
- More expensive than other at-home HIV testing options.
- Testing for STIs other than HIV may be unnecessary.
Best for fast delivery
- Price: $89
- Type of sample: finger prick
- Results: 2 to 5 business days
The myLAB Box HIV test is a combination antigen/antibody test. The test detects HIV p24 antigen and antibodies to HIV type 1 (HIV-1 groups M and O) and HIV type 2 (HIV-2) in human blood.
According to the company, the test is 99.9 percent accurate. Each test kit comes with detailed instructions and illustrations.
The test uses a self-collected finger-prick blood sample mailed to a qualified lab. The company says two-way postage and lab service fees are included in the cost.
MyLAB Box also offers post-test counseling by telehealth to provide assistance and answer your questions.
You retrieve test results by logging into a secure portal. MyLAB Box tests are also available from Amazon.
- Works with College of American Pathologists (CAP) and CLIA certified testing labs.
- Secure and encrypted network to store your information.
- Fast arrival and delivery, according to user reviews.
- Temporarily unavailable in New York state.
- More expensive than other at-home tests on the market.
- Does not have a membership option.
Best HIV-specific option
- Price: $69
- Type of sample: finger prick
- Results: within 3 weeks
Through Verisana, you can order an HIV test or combination STI testing package. You collect your blood sample, send it back to them, and Verisana will provide you with your HIV status.
If test results are positive, Verisana encourages you to talk with your doctor about treatment options. There’s no counseling option available through their service.
You can purchase the test through their website or Amazon. You can order an HIV test or combination STI testing package, which ranges from $199.95 to $299. Like the others on this list, Verisana uses CLIA certified labs.
- Can order stand-alone HIV test.
- Shipping is free.
- Comprehensive instructions.
- No counseling options are available.
- Due to regulatory reasons, the test is currently not available in New York, New Jersey, Rhode Island, or Maryland.
- No monthly membership available.
Best for tracking in an app
- Price: $78
- Type of sample: finger prick
- Results: varies
iDNA offers testing approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for HIV-1 and HIV-2, as well as other STIs. The kit will arrive in a plain, unbranded package. It comes complete with easy-to-follow directions for taking your own samples.
Once you receive the test, send the blood sample back and the company will test it at one of its CLIA and CAP accredited labs. There are three shipping options: first class, business, and overnight. Shipping is charged after you enter credit card information.
Users can track their test from administration through testing and read their results online or in the app. You can also receive results through email.
iDNA doesn’t offer physician support if tests results are positive. Instead, the company offers a free retest to confirm the results.
- Can mix and match tests you’d like to purchase.
- Can track sample in an app.
- Will get a retest if test results are positive.
- No counseling support if test results are positive.
- Shipping charges.
- Higher cost for HIV at-home test.
Best budget option
- Price: $38.99; qualifies for HSA/FSA spending
- Type of sample: oral swab
- Results: within 20 minutes
This is an FDA-approved at-home HIV test. It tests for antibodies.
To get tested with OraQuick, you only need an oral swab, there is no need to draw blood. All orders are delivered in an unmarked brown box to ensure privacy.
The OraQuick test may detect HIV within 2 weeks of infection, but it may take longer depending on the person. Experts caution that users should view the results as preliminary.
The kit includes step-by-step instructions. All results are confidential. It screens for HIV-1 and HIV-2. A positive result does not definitively mean infection, only that more testing is necessary. A negative result may not be accurate if you have been exposed within the last 3 months.
- Saliva swab only, no need to draw blood.
- Fast results.
- 20 million tests sold; this is the same test healthcare professionals have used since 2004.
- More testing may be needed.
- Waiting for more testing can be worrisome.
|At-home HIV test||Price||Type of sample||Results|
|Everlywell||$49.99||finger prick||within 5 business days|
|LetsGetChecked||$149||finger prick and urine sample||2–5 business days|
|myLAB Box||$89||finger prick||2–5 business days|
|Verisana||$69||finger prick||within 3 weeks|
|OraQuick||$38.99||oral swab||within 20 minutes|
The only way to know whether you have HIV is to get tested. The
Men who have sex with men may benefit from more frequent testing (for example, every 3 to 6 months).
If you have a higher risk of contracting HIV, get tested more frequently. Even if you’re in a monogamous relationship, consider getting tested with your partner.
It’s also a good idea for pregnant people to get tested. Treatment can help prevent HIV transmission during pregnancy.
Choosing an at-home HIV test is largely dependent on what you want. If you want to test regularly, you can subscribe and save money. If you’re looking for a one-time test, you can purchase a single test.
In addition, if you’re averse to seeing blood or uncomfortable with a finger prick, you can opt for a saliva-based test.
A positive at-home test doesn’t necessarily mean you have HIV. False positives do happen. However, it’s important schedule an appointment with your healthcare professional for additional testing.
If you know you’ve been exposed to HIV, consult a doctor.
Are at-home HIV tests accurate?
The results of at-home HIV tests are about
For example, a
Who should get tested?
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested at least once in their life, according to the
Some people have a higher risk of contracting HIV, according to HIV.gov. Even if you’ve had a past test, it’s recommended to get retested if you answer yes to any of the following questions since your last test:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex — anal or vaginal — with an HIV-positive partner?
- Have you had more than one sexual partner?
- Have you injected drugs and shared needles or works (for example, water or cotton) with others?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for another STI?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for hepatitis or tuberculosis?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer “yes” to any of the above questions, or someone whose sexual history you don’t know?
Can you detect HIV at home?
In theory, yes. But it’s important to follow up with a healthcare professional if you get a positive result.
Research suggests that home HIV testing has an accuracy rate of
Oral rapid tests can produce false positives in 1 out of every 5,000 and false negatives in 1 out of every 12 tests, according to the
Should I take an at-home HIV test or get one at the doctor’s office?
There’s no special preparation needed to get an HIV test. Choosing one or the other may be a matter of convenience. If you want to talk with a doctor in person after taking an HIV test, an office visit may be better for you.
When should I be tested?
Most tests look for antibodies that the body produces in response to HIV. They don’t develop immediately, but they do start to show up within a few weeks to 6 months.
Will I have to pay for the test out of pocket?
Most insurance companies pay for HIV tests, as do most plans under the Affordable Care Act. Some pharmacies or community health centers offer free testing too.
You can pay for some at-home tests with an HSA or FSA. But directly purchased tests may not be covered by private health insurance or Medicaid. Check with your insurance provider or your doctor about reimbursement before buying one.
Will anyone know my result?
If you take an anonymous test, no one but you will know the result. If you take a confidential test, your test result will be part of your medical record. It’s protected by state and federal privacy laws.
Should I share my result with others?
Yes. It’s very important to share your status with your sexual partners. You may disclose your status to others if you wish, but you’re under no obligation.
While insurance companies must have your permission to view your health record, you may be charged higher prices with a chronic condition.
Federal law now prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people who have HIV or AIDS. And there may be a waiting period before insurance covers a chronic condition.
Does a negative HIV test mean my partner has the same result?
No. Your HIV test only indicates your status. Partners may have differing results.
What are some early symptoms of HIV?
Some early symptoms of HIV are:
- night sweats
- muscle aches
- sore throat
- swollen lymph nodes
Better access to HIV testing allows people to start treatment sooner. Today, there are many easy, convenient options for testing. You can walk into your neighborhood pharmacy and pick up an at-home HIV test or order one online.
HIV is no longer the devastating disease it was in the 1980s and 1990s. Thanks to advancements in medicine, HIV is now an incredibly manageable condition, and people with HIV can live long, healthy lives.