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HIV test and STI test

Regular screening for HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) is a good habit. What does it involve? When should you test and how regular? What is the cost?

What does a screening involve?

Your health care provider will ask you questions to assess your risk for having HIV or STIs. He may look at your body for any signs of an infection, such as a rash, discharge, sores... A blood and urine sample will be taken and send to the lab for screening. Depending on the tests used, it can take anything from minutes, to days for the results. When the results arrive, the healthcare professional will explain what the results means, and if they are positive, the next course of action regarding treatment.

When should you test?

The window period is the time between potential exposure to an STI or HIV infection and the point when the test will give an accurate result. For STIs the window period varies between a couple of days and several months. For HIV it varies depending on the test used. For a bloodtest via the lab the window period is 4 weeks. For an HIV self test it is 3 months.

How regular should you test?

Get tested for STIs and HIV:

What is the cost? 

We can't tell you exactly how much an STI test or HIV test will cost. Different doctors have different fees and different laboratories ask different prices, sometimes you need to get tested more than once, etc. 

If you are a Belgian resident it is mandatory to have health insurance. If you do not have a lot of cash with you on your doctor's visit, then you can ask your doctor to get the money directly from your health insurance, and you will only have to pay a small fee.

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