What is HIV?

HIV, short for human immunodeficiency virus, is a type of sexually transmitted infection that targets the immune system.

Our white blood cells (also known as CD4) are responsible for fighting infections in the body. HIV kills those white blood cells, weakening the immune system, leaving HIV-positive patients susceptible to illnesses such as bacterial infections and even cancer.

If left untreated, HIV can cause a disease called AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), also known as late-stage HIV infection. There is currently no cure for HIV, though there are medications available that can help to manage the infection.

Suspect you might have contracted HIV?
Get tested for HIV at The Artisan Health Clinic in Singapore.


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What to do if you might be exposed to HIV?

Before intercourse


After intercourse


How is HIV transmitted?

HIV is transmitted during sexual intercourse through:



Vaginal fluid

Pre-seminal fluid

Rectal fluids


It can also be transmitted through sharing of needles for administering drugs.

When do you need to undergo HIV testing in Singapore?

HIV testing is recommended for all adults regardless of sexual activity. Testing can be done once every 3 to 6 months to ensure you are free of the virus.

For those experiencing symptoms of HIV like fever, swollen lymph nodes and tiredness, you are highly advised to undergo HIV testing immediately as such symptoms may be a sign of a weakened immune system.

Those who have had sexual intercourse with a suspected affected individual or an HIV-positive individual are also recommended to undergo HIV testing.

You may choose to undergo HIV testing if:

You have engaged in unprotected vaginal and anal sex before.

You have engaged in sexual intercourse with more than one partner.

You have been diagnosed with an STI/STD in the last few months.

In other words, if you are at a high risk of contracting the HIV infection, consider taking PrEP.

Types of HIV testing in Singapore


  • A type of HIV test that is available 10-14 days after the patient has been exposed to the virus
  • Can check for the immediate presence of HIV to determine a positive or negative result
  • Can be carried out prior to undergoing the P24 antigen/antibody test and the HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody rapid test

P24 Antigen/Antibody Test

  • A type of HIV test that is available 14-28 days after the patient has been exposed to the virus
  • Done with a finger prick test to draw blood from the patient
  • A P24 antigen/antibody test can detect both P24 antigen (high levels in HIV-positive individuals) and HIV antibodies for more accurate test results

HIV-1/2 Antibody Rapid Test

  • A type of HIV test that is available 12 weeks after exposure to the virus
  • Quick procedure that can be completed in 20 to 30 minutes using a finger prick test or a simple saliva test
  • A HIV-1/HIV-2 antibody rapid test is able to differentiate between HIV-1 and HIV-2 (slow transmission and lesser chance of progressing to AIDS)

How to prepare for HIV testing in Singapore?

Have a meal prior to visiting the clinic as blood will be drawn during the tests.

Wear loose and comfortable clothing with sleeves that can be rolled up.

Let your doctor know about any preexisting medical conditions and/or drug allergies.

What happens after HIV testing in Singapore?

After HIV testing in Singapore, you will receive your results shortly after or a few days later. Your test samples may also be sent to a lab for further examination.

If you are HIV positive, you will require a follow-up test to confirm your results. After which, you are required to see your doctor to review your health and medical history. He or she will discuss how to manage your condition with the right medication and without passing it on to your sexual partners.

Suspect you might have contracted HIV?
Get tested for HIV at The Artisan Health Clinic in Singapore.
Talk to Dr. Koh Li Wen
Frequently asked questions

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