Adelaide’s first rapid HIV testing service has arrived. SHINE SA’s Rapido service offers a free, less confronting testing experience for gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men, including trans and gender diverse people. Our service is a peer-led – meaning the guys doing the rapid testing are trained individuals who identify as gay, bi, or trans themselves. With a simple finger-prick test, you will find out your result in just 20 minutes.
Clinic Hours & Location
Hours: Monday’s between 3 pm – 6 pm
Location: 57 Hyde Street, Adelaide City Centre
You can call (08) 7099 5300 to make an appointment in advance, or you can just walk in during our opening times and wait for the first available test facilitator.
How does rapid testing work?
Rapid testing identifies HIV antibodies and HIV antigens. These are found in the blood as the body’s natural response to HIV infection. The test is not looking for HIV itself, just whether your body is responding to it. The Alere HIV Combo rapid test that we use is 99.8% accurate and looks for both antibodies and antigens.
When should I get a test?
If you’re sexually active, we recommend testing every three months. It’s one of the ways you can look after yourself and your sexual partners.
Like traditional lab-based test, rapid tests have a window period. The window period is the time between exposure to HIV and when antibodies and antigens appear in your blood. When using a rapid test to detect antibodies and antigens, the window period is six weeks after exposure. This is longer than the window period for traditional lab-tests, which can detect antibodies and antigens within 14-28 days. So if you have had very recent exposure to HIV, the rapid test will not detect an infection.
What should I expect when I come in for a test?
If you have made an appointment, please arrive 5-10 minutes before your appointment time, so that you can complete a registration form (for your first visit only). Your peer tester will provide you with information on rapid HIV testing at Rapido and then perform the test. Your peer tester will talk with you about your risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. You will be given the opportunity to have a full STI screening with a sexual health nurse. Rapido also offers free Hepatitis B vaccinations.
Our peer testers
Our peer testers are not doctors or nurses, but they have all been trained to perform these tests. Our staff are able to answer any questions you might have about your sexual health. We will also be able to help with referral to other services if required.
What are the possible results of a rapid HIV test?
There are four possible results from a rapid HIV test:
Non-reactive – HIV antibodies and antigens were not detected in the blood sample. It’s important to note that if you have had a risk in the “window period” you should re-test again in 6 weeks.
Antibody Reactive – This result is highly likely to indicate the presence of HIV antibodies in your blood. This result is preliminary because the rapid test is a screening test and needs to be confirmed with a blood test. All rapid tests are confirmed with a blood test because there is a very small chance of a false reaction, which means the test falsely identified antibodies.
Antigen Reactive – This result is highly likely to indicate the presence of the HIV antigen in your blood. This result is preliminary because the rapid test a screening test and needs to be confirmed with a blood test. All rapid tests are confirmed with a blood test because there is a very small chance of a false reaction, which means the test falsely identified antigens.
Invalid – There is a possibility that the rapid test may not work. This is usually due to a manufacturing fault. In this situation, you will be offered a repeat rapid test.
So a negative result means I’m HIV-negative?
A ‘non-reactive’ result means you are HIV-negative up to 6 weeks ago. To have a clear picture about your HIV status, you need to test regularly, always taking into account the window period. We recommend routine testing every 3 months.
What can I do if I’ve had a risk of HIV exposure in the last 72 hours?
If you’ve had a risk of HIV exposure in the last 72 hours, you may need Post Exposure Prophylaxis more commonly known as PEP, which can prevent HIV infection if taken within 72 hours of HIV exposure. For more information see our PEP page
What if I have symptoms of an STI?
A sexual health nurse can carry out other STI tests while you are at Rapido for your rapid HIV test. Your STI test results will be available within a few days depending on lab capacity.
For more information about STIs and their symptoms, have a look at these websites:
The Drama Downunder – Australian Sexual health information and advice
GETPEP – PEP may prevent the infection of HIV if taken within 72 hours of exposure, visit GetPEP to find out where you can get PEP in South Australia!
SHINE SA – South Australian Sexual health education and support
If you have more questions about your risk for HIV or your sexual health, please contact the SHINE SA Sexual Healthline on 1300 883 793 or the SAMESH team on (08) 7099 5300.
Where is Rapido! and when is it open?
Rapido is located at 57 Hyde Street, in Adelaide City Centre. Rapid HIV testing is offered on Mondays between 3.00 pm and 6.00 pm.
You can call us (08) 7099 5300 to make an appointment in advance. Alternatively, you can walk in during when we’re open and wait for the first available peer tester.