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Video of Alere Determine HIV test – Positive Test

Most people whom I test for HIV are fortunately negative.

However, I get frequently asked what a positive test looks like.

This is the reason I uploaded this video. It shows the Alere Determine HIV test in action detecting the presence of HIV antibodies in blood.

From the timeline, it also illustrates how fast the Determine test is. Although we always wait for the official 20 minutes for the test to complete, from this video you can see that by 1 minute into the test, we can easily tell if a person is positive for HIV.

  •  9 seconds – blood applied
  • 24 seconds – chase buffer applied
  • 58 seconds – faint line appearing in patient window
  • 1 minute 30 seconds – line is obvious and unmistakable
  • 4 minutes – faint line appearing in control window
  • 5 minutes – both lines are obvious and unmistakable

Click on the link below to watch the video:

If your test looks like this, please see Our Doctors as soon as you can.

Remember, this is a screening test and can have false negative results.

You need another test to confirm if you are really infected with HIV or not.


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About Dr. Tan
Dr. Tan graduated from the National University of Singapore in 2001. His residency was in the two largest public hospitals in Singapore; Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital.

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  1. Anonymous2000

    Dr i used unigold test strip but i had no buffer solution,so when i left n wait for results water drops contaminated the blood..can that affect the results??…can water affect the results?..

    • We cannot comment on the accuracy of tests unless it is conducted according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

  2. Haaiah-juan

    I used fujibio kit,on the first 3 min first line appeared on ‘c’, i immediately transfer kit on another room bed dad came, room is very warm. After another 5min, blood appeared like smudged on the result, but no clear or faint line. Could it be the warm room or i mistakenly tilted the kit while i transfer? Been exposed for more than 7 months

    • This is why we encourage testing to be done in a proper clinic.
      Any abnormal movement may smear the blood/buffer and cause unnecessary worries.
      Based on what you have described, it seemed your test result was negative. If you are concerned, re-test again.

      • haaiah-juan

        i talked to an hiv hotline person, he said he cannot determine the result but most of the already confirmed positive patients they tested outside the window period got the result in just 5 seconds, can it really be that fast? i just felt i have to ask..

  3. i did a test for my cliant it was negative for the first 20 minute after 19 hrs it be came positive. why but buffet i used was expired one to .is that the reason for that

    • drtan

      Why are you using an expired buffer? Yes that could be the reason. But more likely the positive line appeared due to oxidation. This is why the test is to be read between 20 and 40 minutes and NOT 19 hours. If you are unsure of how to use a rapid test kit, please learn before using it on others. You are not doing yourself or your client any favors by doing the test wrongly.

      • I had a test from our office clinic just as what I do every 3 months and the window period of around 15-20 mins it showed negative and then the next day I checked it again and i saw 2 faint lines. Help what to do?

        • I cannot interpret your test results over the internet. Please speak to the doctor who performed and interpreted the test for you.

  4. Hello Dr,

    I see here so many questions regarding using unigod buffer on determine hiv rapid antibody test,have you tried or heard experimentally?Will it bring accurate results?

    I heard by this method it will bring false positive result.(faint line will appear in patient part).

    Thank you

    • drtan

      No we have not. I also do not see any logic why you would want to run a HIV test in a way that does not comply with the manufacturer’s guidelines.

  5. If i use alere HIV kit/slip with uni-gold solution. Will it read or work?

    • I am unable to comment on this. As far as rapid HIV test is concerned, the test strip should be used together with the respective buffer solution for accurate results.

  6. Hello doctor , I recently took an antibody test without a chase buffer and a faith line appeared at the patient window and we conducted 4 different test with alere determine after this with buffer which they all gave a negative resuts. My question is does buffer reduce the concentration of the antibody or I should consider the first test invalid .

  7. I tested my client in two consecutive days and the result was negative, using Determine without chaser buffer solution with the whole blood. Can that be a false negative?

  8. pls is it advisable to use unigold buffer for determine strip?

    • You should always use HIV test kits strictly according to the instructions of the manufacturer.

  9. I did hiv test using determine nd unigold buffer for a patient it was red line on both d patient nd control line, den I repeated it wit serum nd no line on d patient but line appears on d control, dis was d 10weeks, pls is it advisable to use unigold buffer for determine or not? I am still confused on d result. pls h
    elp me out. tanx

  10. Mukhethwa

    Hi Dr. How many minutes/hours does it take for the lines(red line) to disappear on the test strip.

    • The red lines never disappear as far as I know. I have kept the strips for 3 days and the red lines are still there.

  11. Tested patient using two kits. determine was positive,unigold was negative. repeated test immediately and now they were BOTH negative. patient came back the following day and we drew blood and tested using serum, using determine,unigold and KHB, using 5 strips/devices for each test(15 in total) and they were all negative. what does this mean and what do we tell the patient?

    • It sounds like the first determine test was a false positive. You need to ensure the patient is in the right window period for the tests.

  12. Sam Oliver

    Hey doctor was wondering would the control line still appear if the test was dine without blood

  13. hello Dr, pls reply,d faint line at the control box accurate enough without a buffer at 8weeks

  14. Hello Dr,had a test with alere hiv-1/2 without a chase buffer and a faint line appeared on d control box only after 8 weeks of exposure,do u think the negative result is accurate enough after 8 weeks and without a buffer

    • Hi, the test is not conclusive yet at 8 weeks. You should repeat the test at 3 months after exposure and have it done properly.

      • I am an IT student, and I work in the hospital,
        one day I tested a girl and she was HIV positive,
        her blood touched my gloves and I washed it off,
        after that day I became sick and I started having
        internal heat from my head to my toes. I had to
        take typhoid drugs and I started getting better,
        after one week of being exposed to the virus I
        tested myself with a HIV strip using my serum I
        was negative, but I was still not okay I had to do
        another test 3weeks after exposure, was still
        negative, after four days I saw the strip I used to
        check my status the third week and bent it
        looking at it I saw a faint line… I had to do
        another test with my whole blood then say I faint
        line when I bent the strip, does it mean am

        • You really should not be keeping used test strips for 4 days. The strips are mostly designed to be read within a strict time window. Outside of this time window, the strip undergoes oxidative changes and you can start seeing more lines. This does not mean anything. Test strips should be discarded after the test is complete.

  15. had a test with alere hiv-1/2 without a chase buffer and a faint line appeared on d control box only after 8 weeks of exposure,do u think the negative result is accurate enough after 8 weeks and without a buffer

  16. mr Patrick

    Hello dr. pls reply.. a faint line in the positive and a strong red in the control.. what is the explanation here pls.

  17. Mr Patrick.

    Hello Dr. Pls reply ASAP. faint line in patient… and a strong red in control. What do u think is d interpretation here

  18. Mr. miami

    Dr. I have a friend who is laboratory scientists operating a laboratory… I had an u protected sex for over two month am going for test is negative with alere.. While I even take the girl and run d test is negative am I negative.. and also I did d test after 6 month also negative.. is it conclusive?

  19. Hello doc,may God bless you for all you information about HIV. Please am pretty confused and worried cos I have HIV symptoms and I tested negative at 9 weeks with alere determine hiv1/2. I had sex with a lady of unknown status and my condom broke. Is my test conclusive. I have done the test five times. Reply plz

    • The official HIV testing window period is 3 months. However, at 9 weeks the tests are already very indicative.

  20. Hi Doctor
    In the control there is red. But on the patient side there is pure white line it is not pink or red BUT just purly white. So is it positive or negative. No line should be seen completly in patient side?

    • I do not understand your question. Let me put it as simply as I can: 1 red line = no HIV. 2 red lines = HIV.

      • Dear Doctor please let me ask you one question. Please confirm me if there is a perfect white thin line in the patient side. In the patient side there is thin perfect white line..in the same side the other area is faint red when in the middle there is thin white line…in the control side the opposit is there there is in the middle red line but the rest area is white…. to make it clear

        1. In the patient side…the middle thin line is perfect white the rest area color is faint red
        2. In the Control side…there is in the middle thin red color line while the remaining area is completly white…
        3. As a whole there is one perfect red line (in control side)and one white line (in the patient side)

        Please I need your prompt reply

      • As your interpretation I have only one red line that means HIV -ve….but I need u to reply the above question so that I will be sure for my test

        • Doctor please I am waiting your reply? I am checking on regular base your reply. Please it is about life I need your prompt reply ASAP

          • You did a HIV test and your doctor did not explain this to you. It’s shocking.
            It’s very simple: 1 red line (at “c”) means Negative. 2 red lines means positive.
            Based on your results, it does not appear to be positive. If you have any doubts, get it repeated. Make sure you ask your doctor this time.

  21. claire angella

    Pliz am still bothered with the same problem its now 14 weeks past exposure but determine doesn’t react , statpac still with a faint line, unigold doesn’t react and I repeated the elisa combo test negative but am not feeling ok I s it because of anxiety.what should I do ,am i negative or positive . Pliz help me,my mouth has been sour for a long time and am too weak ,could it HIV Dr a reply I urgently needed

  22. claire angella

    Pliz am still bothered with the same problem its now 14 weeks past exposure but determine doesn’t react , statpac still with a faint line, unigold doesn’t react and I repeated the elisa combo test negative but am not feeling ok I s it because of anxiety.what should I do ,am i negative or positive . Pliz help me

    • I suggest you consult a doctor and get a proper test done and analysed by a professional. I do not really understand the way you described your test results.

  23. Sir, I did a hiv test with a whole blood and a very faint line appeared due without a chase buffer. That same day, I repeated it with my serum and it was negative. What is my fate? This just 2months 2weeks after a likely exposure. All was with determine( alere)

    • If your HIV test is a 4th generation combo test, it is conclusive (after 28 days from exposure). However, if it is a 3rd generation hiv antibody test, it is not conclusive (only conclusive after 12 weeks).

  24. claire angella

    I ran a determine strip and it came out negative,stat pac showed a faint line in patient bar and unigold negative,I have done the 4th generation test at 10 weeks & came out negative ,am I safe

    • Dr Justin Sim

      A 4th gen at 10 weeks being negative is conclusive. You may want to repeat one more test to ensure that the weakly positive test was a false positive.

  25. actual am nurse i tested the patient using alot blood
    without abuffer using determine strip then after 1 minute the patient line appeared whiter then control line appeared red, now Dr is that patiet negative or positive results • thanks Dr

    • Hi, first of all since you are performing the test, you should be responsible or train in interpreting the results. If you are not sure, you should at least ask a colleague or your superior. We are not able to give you advice on interpreting your patient’s results over the internet.

  26. eagle

    very informative sites. its good to hear people from different backgrounds commenting. I really learned from your responses dr.

  27. Makunguru

    hello doctor, i took alere determine for hiv test at home, i did not have chase buffer solution, i took my finger blood directly to the strip and after a time only a red line appears in the controll window, am i hiv +ve or -ve?! thanks

    • drtan

      I cannot tell if you are HIV +ve or -ve. There are too many details not included namely when your last exposure was. What you are asking me perhaps is whether or not the test is trustworthy since you obviously did not do it according to manufacturer instructions. This is my answer: The Alere Determine HIV test is NOT a home HIV test. So please go see your doctor for a proper HIV test or to get the Alere Determine HIV test properly done.

  28. Hi Doctor,
    i hear there is an incubation stage of this process when is this?, and how do you detect?

    • Are you talking about the HIV window period? We have 2 very good articles on this which you can read HERE and HERE.

  29. Hello doc.. I did an hiv antibody test last week in drtans clinic at unity street.. I couldnt remember if the chase buffer was added therefore is the test result reliable? Esposure was more than 6 months ago..

    • I also heard that not adding buffer will cause prozone effect.. Is this applicable to this test?

  30. what does one line in the patient line means ?

    • If you only see 1 line at the patient line and DO NOT SEE the control line, that means the test is invalid and should be repeated. If you see 1 line at the patient line AND 1 line at the control line, it means the test is positive for HIV antibodies.

  31. Anonymous

    Dr Tan
    Is it possible for the patient line to appear only after 15 minutes in the rapid test ? What then prevents the test being evaluated as non reactive after 15 minutes and then patient line appears test finishes and discarded? Or is that not possible from the design to prevent such errors?

    • I don’t understand your question. The patient line, if present, indicates a HIV infection. This can appear as soon as 1 minute into the test.

      • Anonymous

        No worries thanks for responding. I get it now. I was just curious whether there are cases where the patient line would appear really late and after the time limit (eg 15 mins or 20 mins)but it looks like that’s not really possible. If patient line appears for a positive sample am I right to assume it should appear within the time limit given by the test to start looking at result.

        • Yes that is why the time to read the test results is between 20 and 40 minutes after the test is started. Honestly, the only time I have seen the patient line take a long time to appear is in HIV +ve patients already on ART.

  32. Patrick Edem

    hello dr. Thanks for all your comments. i appreciate reading through it. my question is this… what is the indication that one is positive??? two red lines in patient and control??

  33. anonymous

    hi doc.
    will there be a case the patent line appears after the contain line appears? i took the test and got the results in 5mins at afa testing site. worry that the patent line will appear after the contain lines appear

    • I have seen that happen in patients who are HIV +ve and on treatment. I have yet to see that happen in HIV screening.

      • anonymous

        thabks sir for the reply! i meant the control line, not contain. so 5-10mins is not accurate in reading the results? so do you mean that the results is not ready for the hiv rapid test kit when the control line appears? thus we have to wait for the full 20mins?

        • anonymous

          fyi i was tested using the hiv rapid sd bioline combo test at afa anonymous screening

  34. I’m not add- my risk sex was 6 years later.

  35. Hi Dr, is it possible to add too much chase buffer? Is the amount of added chase buffer affect the result? My doctor add 2 big drops, is it ok? I have negative results, with control line, can I be sure it? Sorry for my english.

    • As long as the chase buffer was added onto the absorption pad it is fine. If the chase buffer overflows onto the sides of the strip, it will affect the test.

  36. Baraka

    Actual I was with my doctor and he told me as long as the line is just whiter than the wider line in a patient side and does not have any relationship with red color or any other color it is negative. But im worried i just want to know more about it if any!

    • drtan

      I cannot comment on that. Please ask your doctor.

      • lionel

        I did a rapid test with determine and it was negative. I repeated with unigold it was also negative but I noticed a faint line the next day, more than 24hrs later. Don’t know what to make of it.

        • It is not advisable to interpret the results that way (after 24 hours) because it will not be accurate. If you have any doubts, just repeat another test. Interpret the results after 10-20 minutes.

  37. Baraka

    Hi Dr!
    I tested for HIV by using determine 1/2 test and the read line appeared in control side but after looking it careful and close to the eyes i so a whiter line in patient side. Please I want to know what does it indicate.

    • drtan

      See your doctor. The Determine test is not designed to be a home test. You need a professional to interpret it for you.

  38. Charles

    Dr Tan,
    What do you think about this test result with Alere Determine 1/2 which I observed while running a test. The control window has clearly red line. but the patient window initially had something looking like some very faint neutral colour line (like two of them) that disappeared after like an hour.

    If there is a real faint line, will it disappear with time.

    • Why are you looking at the Determine test after an hour? It is supposed to be read between 20 and 40 minutes.

  39. John Kachy

    Hi Dr Tan

    I used Alere Determine without chase buffer. I used blood from my finger. only pink color appeared on patient side (not a line). I’m I negative or positive?


    • drtan

      Since there is no line the test is invalid. You need to do it again.

      • can the test work without chase buffer if using blood from a finger?
        What is the function of chase buffer?

        • I have tried running the test without the chase buffer before and found that it seemed to work. However, without large scale scientific studies to prove this, I would be very wary of trusting a test run without chase buffer.

  40. memyself

    Hi Dr Tan

    a female frnd of mine run the test on her own using a chase buffer and only one red line appeared of Control while the place they wrote Patient is completely blank.

    What is that result supose mean?

    Is she HIV positive or HIV negative??

    Thanks in advance
    Memyself from Ghana

    • This test is not approved for home use. Your friend should really go see her doctor for a proper test. Assuming the test was conducted properly, a single line in the control box means HIV negative.

  41. kent cheng

    Hi Dr Tan

    Went for another hiv antibody test on the 17th week after exposure, result is negative do i need to do more test ? Is 17 week result conclusive enough.


  42. kent cheng

    Hello Dr Tan
    Rapid test 13 weeks after exposure at your clinic negative
    Went to kensinton clinic did a hiv 1/2 laboratory test negative after 15.5 week exposure
    These suppose to be conclusive, problem is i started to have white patches on tongue and discomfort on leg, could this i do not produce enough antibodies for the test to detect.


  43. kent cheng

    Dr Tan thank you for your response. What i meant was i am not sure during my test was the chase buffer was applied or not, so i thought a 2nd repeat test to ensure it is not a false negative from the 1st test. Just worried….

    • I do not think not adding the chase buffer will affect the accuracy of the test.

  44. kent cheng

    Hello Dr Tan, should i repeat the test to reconfirm.. thks

  45. kent cheng

    Dr Tan, i did a rapid hiv 1/2 test at your clinic by the lady doctor. 13 weeks after exposure negative result. After reading your earlier reply on using and not using chaser buffer. I am a little worried if without chaser buffer will give a false negative. Although i do not have any other symptom except occasional pinching pain on legs and arm and body feeling discomfort occasionally.

    • Using the chase buffer or not, as far as I am concerned, should not affect the accuracy of the test.

  46. Victor Valentine

    Hi doctor Tan, I repeated my testing in November, I notoiced that the faint line has almost disappeared completely. I did it with 2 other brands of RDTs and they appeared negative. I want to run the RNA PCR, what do u think?

  47. Victor Valentine

    Thank you Dr. Tan. I will satisfy the full testing window period. I will get back to you in January.

  48. Victor Valentine

    I had an HIV testing with Alere determine and a faint line appeared using the serum and plasma. When I used whole blood, it appeared slightly thicker. I have gone for ELISA testing and it came out negative. I have also screened myself for HBsAg and HCV and they all came out negative. What could be the result?

    • Victor Valentine

      Hi Dr. Tan, please I need your reply urgently. My psychology is already thwarted.

      • There is always a risk of false positive results with any HIV screening test including the Determine. That is why we always follow up a positive screening test with a confirmatory test.

        • Victor Valentine

          Thank you for your answer. Is ELISA not confirmatory enough? The ELISA came out negative. I was asked to check back in three months i.e January. What is your suggestion? I’m from Nigeria. Please I need your advice.

          • Victor Valentine

            It’s the second month since I had intercourse with a prostitute though with a condom. I regret my moves deeply. What do you advise me to do?

          • You need to satisfy the full testing window period as recommended in your country. Please continue to follow your doctor’s advice. As far as I a concerned, the chance that you actually are infected with HIV is miniscule.

  49. Hi doctor, does the chase buffer needs to be applied in order for test to be accurate? I don’t remember my doctor adding the chase buffer

    • I have seen the test run quite normally even without the chase buffer. However, since the recommendation by the manufacturer is to use the chase buffer and since there is no report of how accurate or inaccurate the test is without the chase buffer, I always tend to err on the side of caution and always use the chase buffer.

      • ledandy

        hello doctor! if ever the test is negative, how does the test?

        • drtan

          You would see only the top line aka Control line.

      • Hello doctor,
        I’m a biomedical student and I work with these kind of rapid tests quite often. However in my lab, we only use plasma and serum. Still, I asked my internship teacher if the test works without adding the chasing buffer and she said yes, so i took one and did it myself with blood from my finger. I did the test without adding the buffer and the control line appeared, which i think means the blood ran through the whole test membrane and worked succefully. Can I be rested or should I run it again? I know you say that adding the chasing buffer is more secure, but if the control line appears, probabily there’s no need to run it again right? Thanks in advance

        • From my experience the test runs just fine without the chase buffer.


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