HIV Rapid Testing

Tanjong Pagar Medical Clinic is an approved Anonymous HIV Testing Clinic by the Ministry of Health Singapore.


Since 2007, the Ministry of Health approved a new method of detecting HIV infection – through the use of rapid HIV test kits in clinics for screening. Results of rapid tests can be out in less than 20 minutes. If the rapid test reveals a positive result for HIV however, a confirmatory laboratory blood test is required.

Currently, four rapid HIV kits are registered and available in Singapore:
These are the Alere Determine™ HIV-1/2 Test Kit, Orasure Oraquick® Rapid HIV-1/2 Antibody Test, SD Bioline HIV 1/2 3.0 and SD Bioline HIV AG/AB Combo.

Below is a table summarising the difference between the various HIV tests.

Description of testAlere Determine™ HIV-1/2 Test Kit*Orasure Oraquick® Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Test*SD Bioline HIV 1/2 3.0*SD Bioline HIV AG/AB Combo*
Time to get results15 minutes20 minutes10-20 minutes 20 minutes
Fluids used for testBlood Oral fluids Blood Blood
Method of testingFinger prickOral swab (between cheek & gum)Finger prickFinger prick

*As with all other screening tests, a positive result needs to be confirmed further by a conventional full blood test like the Western Blot method which uses specialised laboratory testing to detect the virus accurately.

The Alere Determine™ and SD Bioline HIV tests are administered by taking a small amount of blood with a finger prick device. The Orasure Oraquick® Rapid test is usually performed by swabbing between the cheek and the gums with a soft pad at the end of the testing device.

The rapid HIV test kits are not approved for home or self-administration. It must be performed and the results interpreted by a trained personnel.


Through sexual contact

Transmission of some STIs e.g. non gonococcal urethritis (NGU), HIV, Hepatitis B and gonorrhoea occurs when there is transfer of body fluids (e.g. semen from the male genital tract or vaginal secretions from the female genital tract) from an infected person to the sex partner. Transmission of some STIs e.g. gonorrhoea and chlamydia may also occur with transfer of oral saliva or fluids from a person’s infected mouth to the sex partner.

Through skin to skin contact

Transmission of other STIs, e.g. scabies, pubic lice, syphilis, herpes and warts occurs when there is close skin-to-skin contact.

Through blood contact

Some STIs e.g. syphilis, hepatitis B and HIV may be transmitted through direct contact with contaminated blood, for example through sharing of injection needles or through contaminated blood transfusions.

What are the advantages of a rapid HIV test?

The advantages with the rapid HIV test as compared to the conventional blood tests are:

For Orasure Oraquick® Rapid, it is a non-invasive test so no blood sample or needle prick is required.

For Alere Determine™ and SD Bioline, it only requires a quick prick on the finger for a small amount of blood rather than drawing blood through a needle.

The results are known usually within 10-20 minutes; hence the anxiety associated with a long waiting period is avoided.

Should I go for the rapid HIV testing?

A person infected with HIV has no symptoms in the early stages. It may take several years for these symptoms to appear. Getting tested is the only way of knowing if you are currently free from the infection. The test will only determine your status at that point in time, so if you engage in risky sexual behaviour such as unprotected sex following your test, it is time to go for another test. Knowing your HIV status means you can take action to prevent others from being infected and manage your health.

You should get tested if:

  • You have engaged in any sexually risky behaviour in the past, such as having multiple sexual partners, not using condoms consistently, or being serviced by professional sex workers
  • You are not sure of your partner’s sexual history
  • You had yourself pierced or tattooed in an unhygienic or unlicensed provider
  • You had a blood transfusion or an operation performed overseas, where blood testing regulatory requirements may not be stringent.

Does a negative result confirm that I am not infected?

Following an HIV infection, it takes up to 3 months for the antibodies to develop before they can be detected by the rapid test kits. A rapid HIV test performed during this 3-month “window period” may not be able to detect an infection. A second test needs to be performed 3 months after the first test, to confirm the result.

What happens if the test result is positive?

If the result of the rapid HIV screening test is positive, it could indicate that you have been infected with HIV. You will require a confirmatory blood test, such as the Western Blot test, to confirm the result.

What if the confirmatory blood test result is positive too?

A positive confirmatory blood test result indicates that you have been infected with HIV.

While there is still no known cure for HIV infection, advancements in medical treatment can help to suppress the virus effectively. If you seek treatment early, you can delay the onset of symptoms and further complications. Early treatment means you can prolong your life, one that is productive and fulfilling.

If you have tested positive, be sure to practise safer sex at all times so that you do not pass on the virus to someone else, especially to someone you love. In Singapore, it is an offence under the Infectious Disease Act for an HIV- infected person to engage in activities that could pass on HIV to another person.

Testing Services at Tanjong Pagar Medical Clinic

Testing for STD/STI – Our STD/HIV clinic provides a full range of STD and STI testing services which can be done at the same time as the HIV testing. Please see here for a full list of STD testing and screening profiles. HIV and STD tests can be customized to suit your risk profile.

Testing for HIV – We offer a full range of HIV testing as well as rapid and fast HIV tests, either by oral saliva swab or by fingerprick blood. Results in 20 minutes!

Prevention of HIV – If you have had a recent high risk exposure (less than 72 hours), you may wish to consider HIV PEP or HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis, which may help to prevent HIV transmission and potentially save your life!

Prevention of STD – We offer vaccination against Hepatitis virus and Human Papillomavirus (HPV).

Please call 64433101, SMS 96622880 or email for more information.

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