Whether it’s a standard or rapid test, the healthcare provider giving you the test should talk to you about your knowledge of HIV and give you some information. Before your test (during pre-test counselling), they may talk to you about:
Your knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention
Your behaviours related to sex and substance use that may have increased your likelihood of getting HIV
How the HIV test works
If/when you should come back for another test
Other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections (often people get tested for other STIs when they get tested for HIV)
The healthcare provider may also talk to you about how you’re feeling that day (like if you’re anxious or worried). They may ask you how you think you’d react if you tested positive, or if you have friends or family that you can talk to if you test positive. Remember, it is their job to help you feel as comfortable as possible during this process.
After your test, if your result was positive, the provider should offer you post-test counselling. During post-test counselling, the provider will explain the results. This may take a while, as it is meant to support the person coping with their new HIV diagnosis. Post-test counselling is also intended to link people to care and to allow people to ask questions and find out more information for next steps.