Who is the DBS test for?

The DBS test is for people living in New South Wales (NSW), Australia who are over 16 years old.

The DBS HIV test is for gay and other men who have sex with men, people with a transgender history, people from countries within Africa or Asia and other countries where HIV is more common and partners of these people.

The DBS hepatitis C test is for people who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, people who have ever injected a drug, people who have ever been in prison, people who attend or have attended community corrections services, people who use or have used drug and alcohol services or mental health services, people who are or have been homeless, and people from countries where hepatitis C is more common.

For  other groups of people, conventional laboratory HIV or hepatitis C testing may be more suitable. For more information on other testing services, call the NSW Sexual Health Infolink on 1800 451 624, or if you have a doctor you normally see, you could ask them about HIV and hepatitis C testing.

What is a DBS test?

A DBS test is a free, easy and accurate way to test for HIV and/or hepatitis C.

You take a few drops of blood from your finger and send the sample to us to be tested.  The tests are very accurate and have been used in other countries.

How do I get a DBS test?

To get a DBS test, you will be asked some questions and, if DBS testing is suitable for you, you can register for a DBS HIV and/or hepatitis C test.  If you haven’t already been given a DBS testing kit, one will be sent to you by post in a plain envelope.

Photo of DBS testing kit - description of contents follows
Dried blood spot test kit

The DBS testing kit contains:

  • instructions
  • 2 alcohol swabs
  • 2 sterile finger prick needles (lancets)
  • 2 cotton balls
  • 2 band aids
  • a test card
  • a foil packet (with dehumidifying sachet inside)
  • a pre-addressed reply paid envelope.

How does the DBS test work and how long does it take to get the result?

The DBS test works by putting a few drops of blood from your finger on a test card and leaving to dry. Return the card to us for testing to see if the blood has HIV and/or hepatitis C.

When you receive your kit, open it and check the contents. Please write your validation code on the test card if you are doing the test on your own. This validation code is needed to perform your test and provide your test result.

After putting the drops of blood on the test card, send the test card back to us in the reply paid envelope. Your dried blood spots will be tested. About a week after we receive your test, a nurse will give you your result in the way chosen by you.

Follow our step by step guide for DBS testing or watch a video on how to do a DBS HIV and hepatitis C test:

​More information

For more information about dried blood spot testing and how it works, read the Dried blood spot test fact sheet.

Current as at: Friday 1 September 2023
Contact page owner: Centre for Population Health