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Updated as of 16 Jul 21

FAQs on Antigen Rapid Test (ART) Self-Test Kits

Q1What is an Antigen Rapid Test (ART) and why is it important?
A:

The Antigen Rapid Test (ART) screens for the SARS-CoV-2, a virus that causes COVID-19. It is a quick screening tool to pick up any possible infection early. The test is easy to do and safe, taking only less than 20 minutes.

The ART self-test kits will enable frequent and widespread testing, allowing more cases in the community to be picked up more quickly. This is in tandem with the nation’s vaccination programme to vaccinate all residents, to protect you and your loved ones.

Q2

Who can use the ART self-test kit?

A:

Individuals who are well but worried that they may have COVID-19 and want to put their mind at ease may purchase an ART self-test kit. In addition, companies may also encourage their employees to perform regular testing using ART to monitor their own COVID-19 status and avoid workplace transmission.

However, if you are invited to go for any COVID-19 test by the Ministry of Health (MOH), please follow MOH’s instructions on the testing requirements.

If you have any acute respiratory infection (ARI) symptoms such as fever, cough, flu, or runny nose, please visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic listed on phpc.gov.sg immediately to seek medical attention. Please do not perform any ART self-testing if you are unwell.

Please do not perform the ART self-testing at home if you had a (i) nosebleed in the past 24 hours, (ii) nasal surgery in the last 4 weeks or (iii) facial surgery in the last 8 weeks. Instead, please visit any licensed ART provider in this list to have your test performed by a professional. Please call ahead to make sure the ART provider is able to provide a private-paid ART for you.

Q3

[Updated 16 Jul 21] Where and when can I purchase an ART self-test kit?

A:

The self-test kits can be purchased from various community retail pharmacies, general retail shops as well as e-commerce platforms.

Please refer to Health Science Authority (HSA)’s website here for the list of authorised self-test kits.

Q4

How many test kits do I need to purchase?

A:

Please purchase at least two ART self-test kits if you intend to do an ART at home.  If the first test result is invalid, you will need to do a second one for verification.

Q5Are there any age restrictions for (i) purchase and (ii) use of the ART?
A:There are no age restrictions for the purchase and use of ART self-test kits. Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the test kit on the specific requirements and instructions.
Q6

My test kit is broken. Can I ask for a refund?

A:

Please contact the pharmacy or retail shop where you purchased the test kit.

Q7

My test kit is expired. Can I still use it?

A:

No, please do not use expired test kits.

Q8

How do I use the test kit?

A: 

Instructions and requirements will vary with the brand of test kits you purchase. Please read and follow the instructions carefully so that you can use the ART self-test kits correctly.

Q9

[Updated 15 Jul 21] How accurate is ART?

A:

ART is faster and less intrusive than a Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. This makes it easy for the public to use to test themselves if needed. In general, ARTs have a sensitivity (ability of a test to identify patients with the disease) of about 80% for cases with higher viral loads and a specificity (ability of a test to identify patients without the disease) range of 97-100%. As the sensitivity and specificity of ARTs are lower as compared to PCR tests, if you test ART-positive or invalid twice, you will need to follow up with a confirmatory PCR test at a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic. You should not repeat the ART. Even if you do test ART-negative in the repeated test, it may be a false negative result and hence you need to go for a confirmatory PCR test.

Q10Is ART painful?
A:
ART is conducted by inserting a swab stick approximately 2cm into the nostril. These swabs are shallower and less intrusive than the nasopharyngeal swabs taken for PCR tests. Users may experience some discomfort, but the swabs should not be painful.
Q11Is frequent ART swabbing harmful to me?
A:

Frequent swabbing has not been proven to be harmful. ART swabs are inserted at around 2cm into the nostril, which are shallower and less intrusive than the nasopharyngeal swabs taken for PCR tests. However, if you have had recent facial surgery or frequent nose bleeds, you are advised to visit a licensed ART provider to have a professional perform the ART for you.

If you are feeling unwell, please visit a SASH clinic listed on phpc.gov.sg immediately to seek medical attention. Please do not perform any ART self-testing if you are unwell

Q12

If I am feeling unwell on the day of testing (i.e. have sore throat, cough or fever), should I still proceed to do the test?

A:

If you are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms (e.g. fever, cough, flu or runny nose), please visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic listed on phpc.gov.sg immediately. Please do not perform any ART self-testing.

Q13
[New] If I have recovered from COVID-19, can I still use the test kit?
A:
Yes, you may still use the test kit. However, do not perform any ART self-testing if you are experiencing acute respiratory symptoms. Instead, please visit a SASH clinic. If you have any contraindications listed in Question 2, please visit a licensed ART provider here and do not self-test.
Q14

When should I read my results?

A:

For accurate results, please read the results only within the period of time specified in the manufacturer’s instructions provided with the test kit.

Q15

How do I read my results?

A:
Please refer to the manufacturer’s instructions on how to read your results correctly. Instructions and requirements will vary with the brand of test kits used.
Q16

What do my results mean?

A: 

Negative: Even if you test negative, please stay vigilant. Do continue to observe safe distancing measures and practice good personal hygiene such as regular handwashing and wearing a mask when leaving your home. Continue to monitor your health and test yourself where necessary.

Positive: You may be infected with the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Please take a photograph of your ART test results with your identification document (e.g. NRIC/passport) in the same photo immediately (see Question 18 for example) and visit a Swab and Send Home (SASH) clinic for a confirmatory Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) test. The list of SASH clinics may be found at phpc.gov.sg. Bring (1) the photo of your results + ID together and (2) your physical ID (NRIC/Passport) to the clinic. Please refer to Question 18 on how to make your way safely to the clinic.

Invalid: An invalid test may mean that the test was not performed correctly. You must perform a second ART test immediately. If your second ART test is still invalid, please take a photo of the test result(s) with your identification document (ID) in the same photo and visit a SASH clinic immediately for a confirmatory PCR test. The list of SASH clinics may be found at phpc.gov.sg. Please bring (1) the photo of your results + ID together and (2) your physical ID (NRIC/Passport) to the clinic.

Q17MOH is recommending that the invalid test be repeated immediately, this differs from the recommendation from the manufacturer’s instruction of the test kit I purchased. Why is that so?
A:
To protect your loved ones, it is best to repeat the test immediately to prevent any possible infection. Please continue to follow MOH’s instructions if you do test invalid.
Q18

If I test ART-positive or invalid twice, what do I do?

A: 
  • Call the nearest SASH clinic listed on phpc.gov.sg to make an appointment and confirm that they can provide a confirmatory PCR test. At the clinic, if your doctor informs you that you need a consultation, e.g. because of observed symptoms such as runny nose, mild fever, you have to comply with your doctor’s instructions.
  • Take a photo of your ART test result(s) with your identification document (ID) in the same photo immediately (example below).
ART Self-test Kits FAQ

  • Dispose the used test kit by properly and wash your hands. See Question 23.

  • Bring (1) the photo of your results + ID together and (2) your physical ID (NRIC/Passport) to the clinic.
  • Travel to the clinic via private transport (car or taxi). Sit alone in the back seat and on the opposite side of the driver. Wind down the windows (switch off air-conditioning) and wear a surgical mask throughout the ride. If you ride a motorcycle, please ensure that you do not have a pillion rider.
  • If you require a taxi, please do not take a street-hire taxi. Instead, book a taxi through:
  • Call the taxi hotlines: Inform the operator that you are going for a PCR test at a SASH clinic.
  • Mobile application of transport companies: Input “SHN” in the comment box or check the “SHN” checkbox (if available).
  • After the confirmatory PCR test, please go home immediately via private transport (same arrangement above), and self-isolate at home until you receive your negative PCR test results.
  • If you are unable to self-isolate at home, please inform your clinic before the swab so that alternative arrangements may be made.
  • Your doctor will generally inform you of your results within 24 to 48 hours. Alternatively, you may check your results via HealthHub.
Q19How much do I have to pay for the confirmatory PCR test?
A: 

If you are assessed by the doctor to meet the swabbing criteria, the cost of the confirmatory PCR test will be fully covered by the government. Please bring (1) the photo of your test results + ID and (2) your physical ID to the SASH clinic for the clinic’s verification (see Question 18 for example). Otherwise, you may be charged for your confirmatory PCR test at the clinic’s prevailing charges.

At the clinic, if your doctor informs you that you need a consultation, e.g. because of observed symptoms such as runny nose, mild fever, you have to comply with your doctor’s instructions.  The prevailing subsidies and fees will apply if needed.

Q20

What do I do if my PCR test is positive?

A:

If your PCR test is positive, please continue to self-isolate. MOH will contact you via phone call to provide instructions on the follow-up actions required.

Q21What should I do if I experience nose bleeding after swabbing?
A:
Please consult a doctor if you experience persistent nose bleeding.
Q22If I already did an ART self-test at home within the last 24 hours and had a negative result, do I still need to take a Pre-event Test (PET) prior to an event that I wish to attend?
A:
Yes, you do. ART self-tests performed at home cannot be used for PET. For more information on PET, please visit go.gov.sg/pet.
Q23

How should I dispose the used test kit?

A:

After reading the results, please take a photo with your ID in the same photo if the result is positive or both results are invalid.

To dispose the test kit, place all the used items from the test kit into a plastic bag or a sealable bag and seal it. Place the sealedf bag into another plastic bag. Tie the second plastic bag with a rubber band or cable tie. Please ensure that the bags are tightly tied to protect your community. Throw it into the rubbish chute or a pedal bin immediately.

Q24

If I have queries on the test, where can I seek help?

A:

For more information, you can visit go.gov.sg/selftestart. For further queries, you can call 6876 5830.


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