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 screening for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to those who are 16 and over, have no symptoms of an STI and live in an eligible county. Simply enter your age and postcode to find out if your area is eligible for an Express Test. You will need a UK mobile number to register to use this service.

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?

Express Test will offer testing based on your responses to questions during our triage process. All individuals eligible for the service will be offered appropriate testing based on the consultation answers (chlamydia, gonorrhoea, HIV & syphilis).

Some higher risk individuals may be offered wider testing that can include hepatitis B and C testing.

Kits support you to take samples from different areas of your body – urine, vaginal swab, rectal swab and pharyngeal (throat) swab (triple site test) for chlamydia and gonorrhoea, plus you may be offered a blood sample for HIV, syphilis.

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.

I need testing as part my fertility treatment – can I test online?

If you require testing as part of your fertility treatment, please see your GP or fertility clinic as we are unable to provide certification via the online testing service.

What will arrive?

Once you've completed your order, your self-sampling kit will arrive in the post within a few days (we send kits via 1st Class mail) to the address you have chosen. There is also a tracked freepost envelope so you can return your samples free of charge.

The kits are small and discreet - the box is sent in a white plastic bag with no identifying markings or logos and fits through a standard letterbox.

What's in the test kit?

Your kit contains everything you need to collect your sample(s) and return it to the laboratory for testing. There will also be a form that includes additional information and instructions showing how to collect and return your sample(s) to the lab for testing.

Basic kits will require either a urine or a vaginal swab sample along with a finger-prick blood sample to test for blood borne viruses (e.g. HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C). Some kits may also offer you additional swabs to test for oral and rectal infections if you have indicated you are at risk of these.

Further instructions and instructional videos (like the one below on finger-prick blood collection) can be found on the SH:UK website - https://www.sh.uk/self-sampling

If you try but are unable to collect a blood sample, we will still test your swab or urine for chlamydia and gonorrhoea (the most common infections). 

Can I order more than one kit at a time?

You can order a kit online with us every twelve weeks. Each person ordering an Express Test kit must register their own account via the site. This is to ensure that we have their relevant personal details and can offer them a kit which is personalized to their needs.

When will my kit arrive?

All of our test kits are sent first class postage (Royal Mail) and should arrive within 1-3 working days. However, there are sometimes delays in the postal system and during seasonal periods test kits may take longer to arrive. If your kit has not arrived within 5 days please let us know by calling 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com and we will issue a replacement kit.

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 gonorrhoea. 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 will only refer to the samples 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 below.



If you try but are unable to collect a blood sample, we will still test your swab or urine for chlamydia and gonorrhoea (the most common infections). 

Further instructions and instructional videos (like the one below on finger-prick blood collection above) can be found on the SH:UK website - https://www.sh.uk/self-sampling

If this doesn't answer your questions or you are still having problems, please call the Express Test SH.UK support team on 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com.

How do I return my test kits?

Once you've taken your sample(s), please ensure you have completed the included form (but keep the top part - you may need it to collect your results).

Place your sample(s) and the form back in the box and seal the box shut making sure the tabs lock tightly.

We've already paid for the postage (it's freepost), so you can simply pop the kit in your nearest postbox as soon as you can. You will see directions to your nearest post box on the form. 

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 please call the Express Test SH.UK support team on 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com.

How will I get my results?

You will be notified via text message (or the method you chose when registering), that your result is ready to view and will be directed to log in to your online account. You will be able to see your full result breakdown as well as your testing history.

Each time you start an online consultation we ask you to confirm your details as it is important you keep these up to date.

If you submit personal information to us through this website, it will be in accordance with our privacy notice. Results will be provided online and you will be notified by text message. However, where we do not receive a response when required, for example a positive result, we may telephone, email or write to you using the details associated with your Express Test account.

What happens if any of my results are positive?

If your test results indicate a potential infection you will be contacted by our team and informed of your results. 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.

If you submit personal information to us through this website, it will be in accordance with our privacy notice. Results will be provided online and you will be notified by text message. However, where we do not receive a response when required, for example a positive result, we may telephone, email or write to you using the details associated with your Express Test account.

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 my account?

You can change your postal address by logging in to your Express Test SH.UK account.

If you have changed your mobile number, then you will need to contact the Express Test SH.UK support team on 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com. We will then be able to verify your details and reset your account with your new mobile number.

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

On the account login page, click the ‘forgotten password’ link and we will send a verification code via text message to the mobile number you registered the account with and this will enable you to reset your password. We will also require you to input your date of birth.

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

If you live in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk or Suffolk, you will notice some differences when you order an Express Test. From 1 November 2021 we are using a new testing portal and you will no longer be able to use your previous Express Test login details. This means you will need to re-register using the new service (simply click the link and choose your location) as we won’t have your details on the new system. If you ordered a kit before this date then the team will contact when your results are available.

If you live in Milton Keynes or Peterborough, your details remains the same, there is no change.

You will need a UK mobile number that is your own in order to register. For confidentiality and security reasons, you cannot use someone else’s mobile number or email address.

If you have registered on the new service and are having trouble signing in then you may wish to try using an alternative browser or try a different device (e.g. your mobile phone, laptop or tablet). Sometimes deleting your search history or cookies can help. If you still have problems, please call the Express Test SH.UK support team on 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com.

I haven't received my text verification code after signing up, 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.

Why do I need to re-register?

If you live in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk or Suffolk, you will notice some differences when you order an Express Test. From 1 November 2021 we are using a new testing portal and you will no longer be able to use your previous Express Test login details.

This means you will need to re-register using the new service (simply click the link and choose your location) as we won’t have your details on the new system.

The new portal has features to help you manage your sexual health testing. You will have:

  • Access to your own patient portal to see your results and test history
  • Improved access to information, advice and support through our colleagues at the Express Test SH.UK support team

If you have any problems, please call the Express Test SH.UK support team on 0333 344 4462 or info@preventx.com

Why can't I order a kit today?

If you have symptoms we would recommend visiting your local iCaSH NHS clinic as soon as possible. Please call 0300 300 3030 for an appointment.


You can only order one Express Test, once every 12 weeks. If you need to test sooner, please contact your local iCaSH Clinic on 0300 300 3030.

Or you can contact the Preventx General Support Desk by calling 0333 3444462, or email info@preventx.com

Order a test now

Order a test now

If you are over 16, have no symptoms on an STI and live in Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Peterborough or Suffolk, please click here to order a test

Express Test Support

I can’t access the test site, what should I do?

If you have trouble with logging in to your Express Test account or have a question about your kit or the kit contents then please click here to contact our SH:UK Express Test support team.

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