What is the rapid test?
The Rapid Diagnostic Test (RDT) detects HIV antibodies in the blood (i.e. the reaction produced by your body in the presence of the virus). This test is very reliable and has excellent sensitivity and specificity (i.e. the risk of having a false negative or false positive is extremely low). Please note that for the TROD, we do not talk about "positive - negative" but "reactive - non-reactive".
In order to be carried out properly, the time between the test and the last exposure to the risk of being infected (the time of "risk-taking") should be at least 3 months.
The TROD, if reactive ("positive"), must be confirmed by a blood test.
Rapid tests can currently be carried out by trained non-medical personnel, following a recent adaptation of the legislature. You want to know more about the current Belgian legislation: Royal Decree of 19 July 2018
The TROD is primarily intended for populations most affected by HIV. In Belgium, two populations are the most exposed to HIV:
- Gays, bi and other men who have sex with men
- Migrants and more specifically migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa (especially women).
When you get a rapid test, most of the time, this is how it works:
The pre-screening interview
A person trained in TROD will assess the situation with you, the risk-taking. This is what we call "pre-test counselling". This face-to-face interview allows us to adapt the information we give you according to your answers. Everything is done with respect for professional secrecy and in complete confidentiality. If you do not wish to answer certain questions, it is up to you to decide, just tell the person in front of you.
Afterwards, we will offer you to carry out the TROD. Here is how the procedure works in a few pictures. For the TROD, a trained non-medical professional takes the blood sample, handles it and reads the result.
The post-test interview
The announcement of the result is made a few minutes after the sample has been taken:
- The result is indeterminate, i.e. the test did not work well. With your agreement we will repeat the operation with a new test.
- The result is non-reactive ("negative"), so we will end the interview with a discussion on a risk reduction strategy according to your needs.
- The result is reactive ("positive"), we will take the time to consider the next step, we will suggest that you contact an HIV Reference Centre of your choice, in order to confirm the reactive TROD by a blood test, and, if necessary, to be taken care of and put on treatment as soon as possible.
For more information, go to www.betested.be