How to take a blood sample

A blood sample is used to test for HIV, syphilis, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Most people find it easier to take the test after watching our short video. It shows someone doing the test and gives you tips to help.

We have recently updated our testing kits. If your kit came with a protective plastic case to put your sample tube in, instead of a specimen bag, and a return envelope instead of a cardboard box, watch our previous video. and follow the instructions included in your kit.

What is included in the kit?

  • 2 sterile wipes

  • 3 lancets - each lancet can be used once

  • Sample tube

  • 2 plasters

Included in the box are:

  • Specimen transport bag

  • Lab card

  • Freepost box and security seal sticker

You'll also need some tissue.

How do I take the sample?

Warm up to help your blood flow. Do the test after having a shower, bath, soaking your hand in warm water, exercising or holding a warm mug.

  1. Take the yellow lid off the sample tube. Put the tube on a low, flat surface so it can stand up. Twist and pull the tip off a lancet then use a wipe to clean one of your middle 2 fingers.

  2. Lay your hand palm upwards on a flat surface. Press the lancet firmly into the side of your fingertip. If the finger-prick doesn’t work, try another lancet - it’s why we've given you some spares.

  3. Keep your arm straight, and hold it over the tube. Massage down your finger so blood drops into the tube.

  4. Aim to fill the tube to the upper line marked 600. If you can’t get to 600 but are over 400, send it back anyway. If it’s hard to get enough blood, warm yourself up or start using a different finger.

  5. Use a sterile wipe to clean your finger, then apply a plaster. Press the yellow lid back onto the tube so it clicks. Wipe any blood off the outside of the tube. Turn the tube upside down 5 times.

Post your sample

  1. Put the tube into the specimen transport bag. If you have more than 1 kit, take all your samples and put them in the same bag.

  2. Peel off the yellow strip, fold and seal the bag. You do not need to add your name, we’ve already labelled the tube with your unique code.

  3. Write the date on your lab card. Put the lab card and your sealed bag of samples into the Freepost box. 

  4. Close the box using the security seal sticker.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 25 March 2024
Published on: 13 January 2023