What is Express Test and how can it help me?

What is Express Test and how can it help me?

What is iCaSH Express Test?

iCaSH Express Test is a free NHS service offering comprehensive sexually transmitted infection (STI) screening to those who are 16 and over, have no symptoms of an STI and live in an eligible county. Simply enter your postcode when you register to find out if your area is eligible for an Express Test.

Symptoms of an STI could include discharge, pain while passing urine, genital lumps, genital sores or lower abdominal pain in women.

Why should I test?

STIs can be serious and often don’t have symptoms. Regular testing is part of maintaining the health of you and your partner/s.

I've had unprotected sex, what should I do?

If you had unprotected sexual intercourse in the last 5 days and think you are at risk of pregnancy, please attend your local iCaSH clinic as soon as possible where we can offer you support. To book an appointment, please call 0300 300 3030.

If you believe you may be at risk of having come into contact with an STI, but have no symptoms it may be best to wait before you test, because certain STIs don’t show up in tests for several weeks after exposure. This is a ‘window period.’ The window periods for different STIs are below:

STI testing window timescale

These window periods do not apply when you have developed symptoms, in which case you need to book an appointment with us via 0300 300 3030. Symptoms could include discharge, pain while passing urine, genital lumps, genital sores or lower abdominal pain in women.

What can I test for?

Our Express Test kits test you for:

Other tests may be offered depending on your answers to our questions.

When should I test?

If you believe you may be at risk of having come into contact with an STI, it may be best to wait before you test because certain STIs don’t show up in tests for several weeks after exposure. This is a ‘window period.’ The window periods for different STIs are below:

STI testing window timescale

These window periods do not apply when you have developed symptoms, in which case you need to book an appointment with us via 0300 300 3030. Symptoms could include discharge, pain while passing urine, genital lumps, genital sores or lower abdominal pain in women.

What will arrive?

The kit will be delivered to the address you’ve chosen in discreet plain packaging. The kit itself is in a small box about the size of a CD or small book, containing individually packaged tests plus some instructions. There is also a freepost envelope so you can return your samples free of charge. The box fits through a standard letterbox.

Express test kit outside Express Test kit inside

The contents of the pack will depend on what you’re testing for but it could include a urine sample bottle and/or swabs and some small finger-pricks for blood tests. The kit will also contain step by step instructions on how to complete and return the test, as well as labels and a freepost return envelope.

Your blood sample will be tested for Syphilis. Depending on your response to our questions, the blood sample may also be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Your swabs and/or urine sample will be tested for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea. Occasionally you might be required to attend the clinic for a repeat blood test if your test is inconclusive.

How often can I order a kit?

You can order a kit online with us every six weeks if you live in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Suffolk. You can order a kit online every twelve weeks if you live in Norfolk.

When will my kit arrive?

We dispatch most kits within a few days by Royal Mail. Occasionally kits get lost in the post; if your kit hasn’t arrived in 7 days please give us a call on 0300 300 3030 and select your county.

Completing your kit

Completing your kit

Do I need to send all the tests in the kit back?

You will only be tested for the tests you send back. If you try but are unable to collect a blood sample, don't worry as we will still test your swab or urine for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea. For more advice on taking your samples, please see ‘How should I take my samples?’ below.

Your blood sample will be tested for Syphilis. Depending on your response to our questions, the blood sample may also be tested for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Your swabs and/or urine sample will test you for Chlamydia and Gonorrhoea.

Your results text will only refer to the tests you have completed and sent back.

How should I take my samples?

Your kit will contain instructions on taking your samples.

If you believe you may be at risk of having come into contact with an STI, it may be best to wait before you test because certain STIs don’t show up in tests for several weeks after exposure.

Urine sample: If you are providing a urine sample, please refrain from urinating for at least one hour before providing your sample. If you are taking a short term course of antibiotics we advise that you wait two weeks after finishing your course before taking your sample.

Swab sample: If you are providing a swab sample, please don’t worry if you are on your period – your swab can still be tested.

Blood sample: For additional advice and guidance on providing your blood sample, please watch our video here:

If this doesn't answer your questions or you are still having problems, please call us on 0300 300 3030 and select the option for your county to speak to one of our team.

How do I label my samples?

In your kit there will be an A5 form with all your details on it. At the bottom of this form there will be some sticky labels that you can peel off and attach to your samples. Make sure you write on the label which test is which i.e. urine, vaginal swab, blood etc.

Receiving your results

Receiving your results

How soon can I expect my results?

When you post your kit, it can take up to 5 days to get to our laboratory by Royal Mail. Once the laboratory has received your kit, it should take up to 3 to 4 days to receive your results. If you haven’t received your results after 10 days, please give us a call on 0300 300 3030 and select your county.

How will I get my results?

Your results will be sent to you on the mobile number you provided.

What happens if any of my results are positive?

You will be sent a text with your results and we will arrange for you to come into a local clinic for your treatment.

Express testing for HIV uses a screening test. This is different from the full assessment test we use in clinic. Screening tests pick up anything that looks like it could be HIV, including other things that are not HIV. A reactive result to a screening test is not the same as a positive HIV test result. A reactive result means something that "looks like HIV" is present. If you get a reactive result then we would need to do a full assessment test in clinic to find out whether HIV is present or not. If you think you have not been exposed to HIV it is likely your test in clinic will come back negative but we still need to do the full assessment after a reactive result just to be sure.

Can I access my partner's details/account/results?

For confidentiality, each person needs to have their own private log in to Express Test. You cannot access your partner’s account/details/results.

Your Account - using the website

Your Account - using the website

I have changed my personal details, how do I update you?

You can change your address and mobile number by logging in to your Express Test account and clicking on ‘My Account’; then edit your details.

If you have changed your email address, you will need to delete your account and sign up with your new email. Please log in with your old email details, select "My Account" and "Delete Account". You can then re-register by signing up with your new details.

I've forgotten my password, what should I do?

On the front page under the login window, click the ‘forgotten password’ link and we will email you a link to reset your password. Remember to use the email address you signed up with initially. Please check your junk mail if you haven’t received your reset link email.

I'm trying to sign up but I'm having trouble, what should I do?

Have you previously used Express Test? If so, you don’t need to sign up again, simply log in using your email address and password to order your next kit.

Try using an alternative internet browser (e.g. Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari) or try a different device (e.g. your phone, laptop or tablet). Sometimes deleting your search history or cookies can help.

If you receive an error code, please give us a call on 0300 300 3030 and select your county.

I haven't received my text verification code after registration, what should I do?

As with all text messages arrival of the text is dependent on signal in your local area. Please try signing up again when you have better signal.

I'm having trouble logging in - what should I do?

Have you previously used Express Test? If so, you don’t need to sign up again, simply log in using your email address and password to order your next kit.

Make sure you are using the email address you signed up with and there are no typing errors, unwanted spaces, dots or characters.

Your password is case sensitive.

If you still cannot log in, please give us a call on 0300 300 3030 and select your county.