About the service

Who can access free HIV test kits from freetesting.hiv?

HIV self-sampling kits are available for free for residents aged 16+, of local authorities (councils) that fund Freetesting.hiv. Please see the list below.

Freetesting.hiv is a targeted service for people most at-risk of HIV. According to HIV prevention England those most at-risk of HIV include:

  • Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men
  • Women and men from Black African communities living in the UK
  • Trans women.

Some local authorities have chosen to make this service available to all their residents.

All returned blood samples are tested for HIV. Some local authorities have chosen to fund syphilis testing too – this is done with the same blood sample.

  • Bedford
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bury
  • Camden
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • County Durham
  • Coventry
  • Darlington
  • Doncaster
  • Gateshead
  • Hampshire
  • Hartlepool
  • Hertfordshire
  • Islington
  • Kent
  • Lancashire
  • Leicester
  • Leicestershire
  • Manchester
  • Middlesbrough
  • Milton Keynes
  • Newcastle upon Tyne
  • Norfolk
  • North Tyneside
  • Northumberland
  • Nottingham
  • Oldham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Portsmouth
  • Redbridge
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Salford
  • South Tyneside
  • Southampton
  • Stockport
  • Stockton-on-Tees
  • Suffolk
  • Sunderland
  • Swindon
  • Tameside
  • Telford and Wrekin
  • Trafford
  • Wandsworth
  • Warwickshire
  • West Sussex
  • Wigan

During National HIV Testing Week (in November) and other periods of national promotion, Public Health England fund Freetesting.hiv to offer HIV and syphilis tests for people 16+ throughout England.

If you find you are not eligible for this service, don’t worry, there are lots of other opportunities to get tested for free. Find your local sexual health clinic, ask at your GP surgery or see if you are eligible to order a free STI test kit directly from SH:24.

Who runs this service?

Freetesting.hiv is powered by SH:24 CIC, a not-for-profit digital sexual health service, developed in partnership with the NHS.

Public Health England commission SH:24 to deliver freetesting.hiv for Local Authorities across England, should they choose to fund this service for their residents.

National promotion of the service is supported by the National HIV Prevention Programme (It Starts With Me / HIV Testing Week) delivered by Terrence Higgins Trust.

Contact us if you have questions about your order, if you have clinical or business enquiries, or if you are interested in commissioning the service.

How does freetesting.hiv issue test results?

The lab should provide us with a negative or a reactive result within 3 days of receiving your sample.

If you have a negative result we will notify you by text.

Before you use our service, you may want to amend the privacy settings on your phone, so that notifications do not display when your phone is locked.

If you have a reactive result we will call to offer you support and help you arrange further confirmatory testing at a clinic near you.

We know some people can be very worried if they receive a reactive result, so our clinical team are available by text or phone to answer any questions.

Find out more about test results.

Who will see my results?

When your samples are at the lab they are anonymous. Your name does not appear on your sample tubes.

Only trained sexual health clinicians and SH:24 service managers will see your test results. All SH:24 staff with access to patient data sign a data protection and confidentiality code of conduct, similar to that used in the NHS.

Will you share my results with my GP?

No, there is no connection between our service and GP records. If you receive a reactive result, we may share your results with nominated sexual health clinicians at your chosen clinic so that they can see your results when you visit for confirmatory testing. Our clinicians can discuss this with you when they contact you about your results.

What if my kit does not arrive?

Text us and we will look at your order. If it has been lost or damaged in the post we should be able to reissue your kit.

What should I do if I lose my phone or change my number before getting my results?

You will need to email our clinical team on sh24.info@nhs.net who can look at your order, confirm a few details with you, and then update your mobile phone number.

What should I do if I have been waiting for more than a week for my results?

Your sample needs to reach the lab via Royal Mail. Sometimes delays can occur, particularly over weekends and bank holidays.

If you have not received a text message confirming your samples have arrived at the lab one week after posting it, text us and we can check in with the lab. If your order has been lost or damaged in the post we should be able to reissue your kit.

If your samples have arrived at the lab, and you have waited over 3 days for your results, it's important not to start worrying. A delay with your results does not signify a reactive result.

Although delays are rare, sometimes the lab is very busy, or your samples have been damaged, clotted or haemolysed and therefore our team needs to get in touch to offer you a replacement test kit.

Is Freetesting.hiv compliant with the General Data Protection Regulation?

Freetesting.hiv is powered by SH:24, who have undertaken a comprehensive programme of work and received extensive specialist advice to ensure that it is compliant with GDPR.

Our website terms and policies have also recently been updated.

Can I request to be forgotten?

Under revised data protection laws you have the right to be forgotten. If you would like to be forgotten, text FORGET to 07860 064 295.

It is important that you make your request before we dispatch your order (so we can cancel your order immediately and erase all of your data).

Can’t find your question? Read FAQs about HIV, or about the test kit.