Frequently Asked Questions

Have questions? The list below will give you some more information about the GetaKit study, the device we use, and what to do when you get your result. 

Creating your GetaKit account

  • Do I need a mobile/cell phone to register an account?

    No, but it’s important that we have a way of contacting you to follow-up on a result or to notify you if there’s an issue with your kit. If you don’t have a mobile/cell phone, you can still register for GetaKit using a valid email address. If you don’t have an email address or landline, check out GetaKit.ca to see if there’s an agency offering GetaKit near you. If there aren’t any agencies near you, connect with us through the main Ontario website. 

  • Can I delete my account?

    If you made an account but haven’t ordered a kit yet, you can delete your account. If you have ordered a kit, you aren’t able to delete your account, but you can withdraw from the project. Email  [email protected] directly to request this. 

Ordering a free HIV self-test

  • Why do I have to complete the self-assessment?

    HIV self-testing isn’t for everyone, and we want to make sure it’s right for you. The GetaKit self-assessment questions are powered by an algorithm that takes your responses and calculates if HIV self-testing is most appropriate for you. There might be some instances where in-person care is better, like if you’re experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection, or if you might benefit from post-exposure prophylaxis or emergency contraception.  

  • I finished the self-assessment, why does it say that there are no recommended tests for me?

    There might be a few reasons for this. It’s possible that you’re asking for testing too frequently (within 3 months of your last test), or you may be considered very low risk. You can follow-up with your local agency to get more information. Check out getakit.ca to see if there’s an agency offering GetaKit near you. If there aren’t any agencies near you, connect with us through the main Ontario website. 

  • Can I change my delivery address after I have ordered a kit? 

    Once you have received confirmation that your kit is on its way, you won’t be able to change the shipping address for that order. This means, it is important to confirm your address before ordering. You can update your shipping address by selecting ‘Edit Address’ under ‘Account Settings’ when you login to your GetaKit account.   

    If you need assistance with updating your shipping address, write to [email protected] to let them know. 

  • What comes in a GetaKit box? 

    When you order your HIV self-test kit you will receive a package that includes: 

    • 1 HIV self-test  
    • Instructions on how to use the kit 
    • 3 bottles of labelled solutions  
    • 1 lancet  
    • 1 bandage  
    • 1 membrane device 
    • Condoms 
    • Lube 
    • Additional resource documents 

    All this comes in a compact, discrete package along with a separate workstation to organize all the pieces of the HIV self-test.  

  • What test does GetaKit use?

    GetaKit uses the bioLytical INSTI® HIV self-test, which was approved by Health Canada on November 2, 2020. The results are highly accurate results (> 99% accurate) and available in about a minute.  

    If you’ve received a rapid/point-of-care HIV test before, this device is very similar. You’ll use the lancet provided in the GetaKit box to poke your finger for a drop of blood. You then follow the instructions included in your kit to complete the test. The HIV self-test can be stored between 2-30 °C; it doesn’t have to go in the fridge. 

  • How soon will it be delivered?

    Barring unforeseen delays, your kit should arrive to your door in 24-48 business hours. Orders placed overnight, on weekends and holidays may be longer. In the cold winter months, kits can’t be left outside, so you may have to pick them up at your local Canada Post counter. 

  • What if my kit does not arrive?

    If after a few days, your kit doesn’t arrive, please write to [email protected] and we will look into it for you. 

Reading your HIV self-test result

Please remember that consent and willingness to take the test are very important. Whoever is taking the test, should understand what the test is for and not feel pressure to do it. This applies whether it’s you, your partner, your friend, your relative, or someone else taking the test.

If you have any questions or concerns about coercive testing contact the HIV/AIDS Legal Clinic of Ontario (HALCO).

  • How do I read my result? 

    After your do your test, a dot should appear at the top under the ‘C’. This is the ‘control dot’ and means the test worked. Remember: any dot is a dot no matter how faint.  

    Your result is negative if you only see the control dot.

    Your result is positive if you see two dots: the control dot and another one underneath. 

    Your result is invalid if there is no blue dot in the control area (under the ‘C’) or if the solution fills the entire space. Here are some images of an invalid result:

    Click here to see the different possible test results.

  • How do I submit my result?

    When you have your result, the best way to submit it is by logging into your GetaKit account and look for the red exclamation mark next to your order. If you’re having trouble logging in, you can also submit your result here.    

  • What happens after I submit my result?

    If you submit an invalid result, please re-order a new kit. Check out these tips to help avoid another invalid. If you receive a second invalid result, we may need to consider in-person testing.  

    If you reported a negative result, someone might connect to see if you’re interested in PrEP or other HIV prevention services.  

    If you reported a positive result, someone will connect to discuss next steps for confirmatory testing and linkage to care.