How to do your blood test
Relax and follow these simple steps
You’ll need to take a blood sample to test for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B, or hepatitis C. It involves pricking your finger with a special needle called a lancet and it shouldn’t be too painful.
You might feel a bit nervous, but the following tips can help:
- Read the printed instructions in your kit first - this has the most up-to-date information
- Most people manage to collect their blood sample without any problems, but if you think you might struggle, asking a friend to help take your blood sample can make it easier.
- It maybe useful to keep some tissues close by in order to clean up any drops of blood after collecting your sample
- Drink a big glass of water 30 minutes before.
- Make sure your hands are really warm. This really helps! Wash them in warm water for a minute or more, hold them over a radiator or even have a bath.
- Swing your arms in a circular motion and clench and relax your hands several times.
Here's your step-by-step guide on how to collect your sample
Before you start
Do your test Monday - Thursday
Try and avoid collecting your sample on a Saturday or Sunday as it may mean it is sat in the post too long.
Set aside 30 minutes
30 minutes will give you enough time to prepare, set up, and collect your sample.
Reminder: Drink a big glass of water at least 30 minutes before taking your test
Take your test
01.Prepare your kit
- Lay your kit out, gently remove the yellow lid from the tube and gently push the tube into the corner of the case, so that it stands up.
- Keep the lancets and alcohol wipes close by.
- Wash your hands
02. Collect your sample
Reminder: Stand up whilst you collect your sample - gravity helps your blood to flow, making the process much easier
Fill the tube to above the 400 line (up to the top line is best). Use a new lancet on a different finger if you need more blood.
Handy tip: Stand up for the whole process — gravity helps your blood to flow. It can also help to swing your arm around as this gets the blood flowing
- Use your middle or ring fingers as these may be less painful than your index fingers
- Push the lancet firmly on your finger until you hear a click. Wipe away the first drop of blood with a clean tissue. Note: The lancet will only activate once.
- Stand up and gently massage your finger from the base to the tip. It can help if you start at your wrist and massage from there down to your fingertip. Do not squeeze the tip of your finger.
- Once your blood is flowng, drip blood into the collection tube. It should take no more than a couple of minutes to fill the tube
If you feel faint or unwell at any point, lie down and raise your legs. If you continue to feel unwell, get medical advice.
03. Fill your sample tubes
Make sure you've filled the tube above the 400 line (up to the top line is best). Use a new lancet on a different finger if you need more blood.
Immediately after filling press the lid on the tube until you hear a click. Gently turn the tube up and down at least 3 times, wipe the outside of the tube ensuring there is no blood on the outside.
- Pop your used lancets into your household waste bin once you have collected all the blood necessary for your sample.
You're all done place the sample collection tube in the transport pack and get ready to return your samples to us.
04. Returning your samples
- Place your samples in the box with the completed return slip. Insert the two large tabs into the slots and seal with the security tape included in the kit.
- The box is free to return, so pop it in any postbox.
Last reviewed March 2022