About the service

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

HIV home test kits are available free to residents aged 16+ living in local authorities (councils) that fund Freetesting.hiv. Please see the list below. Note that rapid self-tests are only available to those aged 18+.

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. Others may vary their targeted populations and the tests offered to reflect the situation in their area.

Our rapid self-test kits test for HIV only. For lab tests, all returned blood samples are tested for HIV. Some local authorities have chosen to fund syphilis lab testing too – this is done with the same blood sample.

  • Bedford
  • Blackpool
  • Bolton
  • Brighton and Hove
  • Bury
  • Camden
  • Central Bedfordshire
  • County Durham
  • Darlington
  • Gateshead
  • Hartlepool
  • Hertfordshire
  • Islington
  • Leicester
  • Manchester
  • Middlesbrough
  • Milton Keynes
  • Norfolk
  • North Tyneside
  • Nottingham
  • Oxfordshire
  • Portsmouth
  • Redcar and Cleveland
  • Richmond upon Thames
  • Rochdale
  • Rotherham
  • Salford
  • South Tyneside
  • Southampton
  • Stockport
  • Suffolk
  • Sunderland
  • Surrey
  • Tameside
  • Trafford
  • Wandsworth
  • Warwickshire
  • Wigan

During National HIV Testing Week (usually in February) and other periods of national promotion, the Department of Health and Social Care funds 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.

The Department of Health and Social Care commissions 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/National 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?

If you use a rapid self-test, you will be able to read the result yourself immediately. If you use a lab test, we will let you know your results once the lab has tested your blood sample.

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? Do you share them with anyone?

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

We work in partnership with local NHS sexual health clinics to help you manage your sexual health. These clinics can access the information we have about you and your results, so that they can help you with any care that needs a visit to clinic.

This information is kept separate from your main medical record and we will never share information with your GP without your permission, unless there's a legal reason why we must do so.

You can read more about this in our terms and conditions. Check our privacy policy for information on how we handle your personal data.

If it's important to you that your information is not shared with your local sexual health clinic, contact us on sh24.info@nhs.net and we will try to help.

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 ask to be forgotten?

If you have ordered from us, we cannot always erase all the information we have about you.

The information you give when you order is considered part of your SH:24 medical record. Legally we have to keep a medical record for a certain amount of time. So we cannot erase this information.

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