What is Swab2Know?

Swab2know is a novel HIV-prevention project that aims to facilitate the use of a free and anonymous HIV-test.

Instructional video

What are we testing for?

The Swab2know project only requires an oral fluid (saliva) sample to perform the HIV test. This new test was designed and tested at the Institute of Tropical Medicine, an official HIV reference laboratory in Belgium. We test for the presence of antibodies against HIV in one’s saliva.

The result of an HIV test based on oral fluid is indicative of HIV infection. It doesn’t replace a ‘classic’ HIV blood test. If the oral fluid test is positive, the result needs to be confirmed via a blood sample.

Regular visits to your doctor are still the best way to detect an HIV infection.

Reliability of the used HIV-test

It is important to recognize that HIV testing using oral fluid is less accurate than the latest HIV tests using blood samples. From time to time a false positive result appears (you’re not infected with HIV but the test result is positive). This can cause anxiety when awaiting the confirmatory result. There is also a very small chance of a false negative result (you are infected with HIV but the test result is negative) but this cannot be excluded if you had a risky contact sometime in the past three months.

The reliability of the test result is guaranteed in groups with a prevalence of HIV (the proportion of people living with HIV in this group) that is above 1%. Contact us if you have doubts as to whether you are eligible to take a reliable test as part of this project.

The accuracy of the test result cannot be guaranteed if you are taking HIV medication. This medication may suppress the antibodies, resulting in an unreliable test result.

Requesting your result

Your test result is linked to a unique sample code. You receive this code when you provide a saliva sample.

You can discuss your test result with one of our doctors during an on-site consultation (contact us by email or by phone on 0474 10 20 79 to make an appointment), or you can choose to receive your result through this website. When your personal result is available, you will receive an email or cell phone message. All you have to do is log into your account and provide your unique sample code. Your test result will be displayed immediately. For more information on how to use the website, take a look at the manual

If your oral fluid has reacted to the test, you might be infected with HIV. You will need to confirm this result with a blood sample test. If your oral fluid has not reacted to the test, we can confirm that you are not infected with HIV. Please note that the test is not completely reliable in the event of recent risk (the past three months).

Either way, it is important that you get your test result. If you don’t collect your result via the website, we will try to contact you by phone. If we are unable to reach you after several attempts, we will assume that you're not interested in your test result and we will stop trying to contact you. You are always welcome at the Help Center and you can participate in the project once again in the future.

If you receive the message that your test result should be confirmed with a blood sample, we will contact you a few weeks later by email to ask whether you got confirmation and whether the result was confirmed or negative.