HIV testing and psycho-social support

What are the places where you can get tested for HIV and where to seek emotional support

HIV testing in Bulgaria

The only way to diagnose HIV is through a test, and no symptoms alone can be a basis for a diagnosis. Most available tests that are the first line of diagnosis look for antibodies to HIV in a person's blood. This means that after infection, a person's body begins to produce specific antibodies to fight the new infection, and it is these that are looked for through testing.

Here it is important to note that HIV infection has the so-called „window period” or this is the time between the infection and the production of antibodies. This period can be between 2 weeks and 2 months (in most cases 1 month). This long period is the cause of high anxiety in people who think they might have been exposed to HIV.

In Bulgaria, as well as in any other country, there are several types of HIV tests. Basically, we can divide them into rapid tests and those that are performed in a laboratory. Rapid tests can be with a drop of blood or oral (when a tampon is rubbed into the gums). Both types of rapid tests search for antibodies.

The other type of tests, performed in a lab are more accurate. Some of the methods used are ELISA, Western Blot or PCR, but there is also the so-called 4th generation test which searches for both antibodies and antigens of the virus.

  • The PCR test is the one that can detect the virus sooner than other tests (3-4 days after infection).
  • The 4th generation antibody / antigen test gives accuracy 9-28 days after infection and is the standard for such diagnostics.

If you need to know more about which tests and where could be performed, please contact us.

The Ministry of Health maintains a network of specialized HIV testing centers in 14 cities in the country called KABKIS (Cabinet for Anonymous and Free AIDS Counseling and Testing). All of them are located in the Regional Health Inspectorates (RHI) - the former HEI. Where you can find the testing centers and their contacts, you can read here. An antibody test for HIV can also be done in almost any private laboratory, but it is not anonymous and is paid for. Remember that if you received a positive test result this is in no case a final diagnose and it should be confirmed at the National HIV Reference Laboratory here.

Emotional support related to HIV and sexual health

If you think that you may have been exposed to HIV or another infection and you need to talk about it with a specialist, we are available by e-mail: and phone: 0886 74 65 60.

Often, topics related to sexual intercourse and sexual practices are too personal and difficult to discuss with parents, partners, or a primary physician. At the same time, these are issues that cannot be postponed and need to be discussed.

If you have had sex and are wondering if it was a risky contact or if you decided you wanted to change your risky behavior in the long run, we are available. If you need another specialized consultation or examination, we can refer you to different specialists depending on the specific problem.

Support Group for People Living with HIV

We are launching a psychotherapeutic support group for people living with HIV at the beginning of May 2019. The group will provide support and will help its members adapt to living with a chronic disease, such as HIV, and the resulting effects. The group will be led by a group psychotherapist with vast experience in the field of HIV – Teodora Milotinova, whose professional life is closely intertwined with people living with HIV in Bulgaria. Read more.