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I got tested at an event and they squeezed some blood from my finger onto a piece paper. I think it was for HIV. Does that sound right? Is it accurate?

It sounds like you were tested with dried blood spot testing.This type of testing is approved in Canada and is accurate.

Dried blood spot testing uses drops of blood collected onto a special filter paper through a finger prick (similar to the finger poke used in diabetes monitoring). The paper sample is dried and mailed to a lab where it’s tested for HIV antibodies. If no antibodies are present, the sample is reported as ‘negative’ for HIV. If the test does detect HIV antibodies, they do a second different test with the dried blood sample to detect genes of the HIV virus. This will confirm the presence of HIV or not, and can even be helpful in assessing which HIV treatment options may work best. Dried blood spots can also be used to test for other sexually transmitted and blood-borne infections, like hepatitis B & C and even syphilis antibodies, though some follow up testing may be required.

Dried blood spot testing is an easier testing method for some settings (like large events or remote settings) where nurses or testing facilities are less accessible. Diverse STBBI testing options are used to fit diverse settings and patients. It can take a few weeks for the results of a dried blood spot test to return to the provider who tested you. They would have recorded your contact information and gone through the process of how they’d get your results to you.

Congratulations for taking this step to know your HIV status! Just remember that a dried blood spot test cannot detect all sexually transmitted infections. If you’re sexually active we’d recommend that you go for regular STI testing at Nine Circles or from a health care provider you work with.