Things To Expect From An Hiv Home
HIV home-testing kits are available in a growing number of countries. They offer you the convenience of taking an HIV test in your own time and in the privacy of your own home but are they for everyone?
Stigma around HIV, concerns about the attitudes of health workers and worries about what a positive result would mean are all barriers to us taking a test. But knowing your HIV status is the best way to keep yourself and other people healthy.
So the privacy and control that home testing can provide should mean its a more attractive option for some people. Here are some questions to think about when deciding if a home test is for you.
What Does A Self
A testing kit contains instructions and everything needed to take the test:
|A testing device|
|A sterile single-use lancet|
The instructions include the steps to take the test, information that a person should know before and after taking the test, and links to useful community services and supports. The instructions also include a link to a self-test demo video that people can watch before they take the test.
Is Hiv/aids Different In Older Adults
A growing number of older people are living with HIV/AIDS. One reason is because improved treatments are helping people with the disease live longer. Nearly half of people living with HIV in the United States are age 50 and older. Many of them were diagnosed with HIV in their younger years. However, thousands of older people get HIV every year.
Older people are less likely than younger people to get tested, so they may not know they have HIV. Signs of HIV/AIDS can be mistaken for the aches and pains of normal aging. Older adults might be coping with other diseases and the aches and pains of normal aging, which can mask the signs of HIV/AIDS.
Some older people may feel ashamed or afraid of being tested. Plus, doctors do not always think to test older people for HIV. Some people may not have access to high-quality health facilities and services, which can limit their treatment options. By the time the older person is diagnosed, the virus may be in the late stages and more likely to progress to AIDS.
Remember, if you are at risk, get tested regularly for HIV.
For people who have HIV, it is important to start treatment as soon as possible after diagnosis. Treatment can help reduce the level of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels. When treatment makes HIV undetectable, the possibility of spreading the virus to a sexual partner becomes very low. This is known as treatment as prevention .
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What Does The Test Measure
At-home HIV tests dont look for the virus itself. Instead, they look for either antibodies alone or both antigens and antibodies. If these substances are detected, the test returns a positive result for HIV.
Antibodies are produced by the body in response to HIV infection. At-home tests that look for antibodies alone detect these substances in the blood or oral fluid. It can take several weeks after an HIV infection for the body to produce antibodies, so these tests can detect HIV 12 weeks after infection.
Antigens are substances that the body recognizes as foreign and activate an immune response. Testing for both antigens and antibodies at home requires a blood sample taken from a fingerstick. Because antigens appear before the body produces antibodies, HIV tests that look for both antigens and antibodies can detect an HIV infection within only 2 to 4 weeks of becoming infected.
How Do I Get Tested For Hiv
A small blood sample, mouth swab, or urine sample is used to test people for HIV. It can take as long as three to six months after initial exposure for the signs of the virus to show up in your blood, and years before you show any symptoms.
You can be tested at a doctor’s office, hospital, community health center, or other health clinic. Some places have mobile testing vans. AIDS services organizations also may provide testing. At-home testing kits are also available.
Depending on where you go, testing may be free. You may be able to choose to take the test without giving your name. Many providers or groups that offer HIV testing also provide counseling.
If you choose to take a test at home, make sure to use a test that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . If the test has not been approved by the FDA, it may not give accurate results. Home tests are sold at drugstores and online. Follow up with your doctor to confirm the results of at-home tests and, if necessary, begin treatment.
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Are People Able To Understand Test Instructions And Use Self
A review identified 25 studies in which people used self-tests, with their results compared with those of a healthcare worker testing them at the same time. The original studies were done in a mix of North American, African, European and Asian countries. Fifteen studies used oral fluid-based tests, six used blood-based tests and four used both oral and blood specimens. Of note, several studies were evaluating professional assays that had not been adapted for use as self-tests performance could be better in commercially marketed tests.
The researchers found that most people could reliably and accurately use rapid tests. Using a statistical approach known as Cohens kappa in which 1 represents perfect agreement between the results of a self-tester and a trained health worker and less than 1 represents less than perfect agreement, results were highly concordant. The Cohens kappa was 0.98 in studies in which users first received a demonstration of how to do the self-test or to interpret its result. In studies in which this was not provided, it was 0.97. This means that in only a small minority of cases the self-tester and the healthcare worker got results that were different from each other.
Are These Figures Always Accurate
In some situations, these figures should be interpreted with caution:
- When tests are done with samples of fingerprick blood or oral fluid , their window periods are likely to be longer.
- Individuals who are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis or post-exposure prophylaxis may have a delayed antibody response, extending the window period.
- The data are based on individuals with HIV-1 subtype B and its possible that tests are less sensitive to other subtypes.
British HIV Association, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and British Infection Association. Adult HIV Testing Guidelines 2020.
Delaney KP et al. Time from HIV infection to earliest detection for 4 FDA-approved point-of-care tests. Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, abstract 565, 2018.
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Types Of Hiv Tests And Their Window Periods
- Nucleic Acid Test A NAT can usually tell you if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure
- Antigen/Antibody TestAn antigen/antibody test performed by a laboratory on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV infection 18 to 45 days after exposure. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick take longer to detect HIV .
- Antibody TestAn antibody test can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV infection after an exposure. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
Ask your health care provider or test counselor about the window period for the test youre taking and whether you will need a follow-up test to confirm the results. If youre using a self-test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package.
If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period. Remember, you can only be sure you are HIV-negative if:.
- Your most recent test is after the window period
- You havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you do have an exposure, then you will need to be retested.
Hiv Tests For Screening And Diagnosis
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can detect HIV depends upon different factors, including the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV diagnostic tests: nucleic acid tests , antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests.
An initial HIV test usually will either be an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV test is a rapid test or a self-test and it is positive, the individual should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a laboratory test and it is positive, the laboratory will usually conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are generally very accurate, follow-up testing allows the health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.
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What Are The Rapid Hiv Test Options
In the past, the only way to get tested for HIV was to go to a doctors office, hospital, or community health center. Now there are options for taking an HIV test in the privacy of ones own home.
Some HIV tests, whether taken at home or at a health facility, are even able to deliver results within 30 minutes. These are known as rapid tests.
How Does The Oraquick In
The test checks for antibodies to HIV. Antibodies are proteins the body makes to fight off an infection.
The kit contains a test stick you use to swab your upper and lower gums to collect an oral fluid sample from your mouth. The stick is then placed in a tube with a testing solution. After 20 to 40 minutes, one line will appear if the test is negative. Two lines indicate that HIV antibodies were detected and that you may be HIV positive.
If the home test is positive, a follow-up laboratory test will need to be done to confirm the results.
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Where Can I Get An Hiv Test
Depending on where you are in the world, there are a number of places that you can get tested for HIV. The best first step is to search online for HIV testing, plus your location. This will generally give you a good idea of where to go, or at least give you a starting point.
If you have limited internet access, its always worth asking local sexual health charities or health professionals what is available in your area. They should be able to direct you to somewhere where you can test for free. The image below has some examples of the types of places that might offer HIV testing.
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How Accurate Is The Insti Hiv Self Test
The INSTI HIV Self Test is very accurate. The accuracy of an HIV test is measured by its sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity is the chance that a reactive test result will correctly indicate that a person has HIV. In other words, if the person has HIV, the test will detect it. Higher sensitivity means there is a lower chance of a false-negative result . Specificity is the chance that a negative test result will correctly indicate that a person does not have HIV. In other words, if the person does not have HIV, the test will be negative. Higher specificity means there is a lower chance of a false-positive result .
The INSTI Rapid Self Test has a sensitivity of 99.6%. In other words, if 1,000 HIV-positive people were tested for HIV, four of them might incorrectly test negative. Since the vast majority of people who get tested for HIV are actually HIV negative, the chance of a negative result being false is extremely low.
The specificity of this test is slightly lower, at 99.3%. In other words, if 1,000 HIV-negative people were tested, seven of them might incorrectly test positive. Therefore, the chance of false positives is extremely low, but it is slightly higher than the chance of false negatives. This is why all people with reactive test results are sent for a confirmatory test, which has a specificity of 100%. This means that the chance of a false-positive result after confirmatory testing is essentially zero.
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Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test at many places:
- Your health care providers office
- Health clinics or community health centers
- STD or sexual health clinics
- Your local health department
- Substance abuse prevention or treatment programs
Many pharmacies and some community-based organizations also offer HIV testing.
HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests.
These places can connect you to HIV care and treatment if you test positive or can discuss the best HIV prevention options for you if you test negative.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
How Can I Get A Home
For a limited time, The Rhode Island STD Clinic and the Rhode Island Department of Health are offering to mail a FREE home-based HIV tests to those who request it and who have a mailing address in Rhode Island. Just click the button below, and answer a few short questions. Well send your test to the address you provide in 5-10 business days.
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Is There A Period When The Virus Isnt Transmittable
HIV is transmittable soon after its introduced into the body. During this phase, the bloodstream contains higher levels of HIV, which makes it easy to transmit it to others.
Since not everyone has early symptoms of HIV, getting tested is the only way to know if the virus has been contracted. An early diagnosis also allows an HIV-positive person to begin treatment. Proper treatment can eliminate their risk of transmitting the virus to their sexual partners.
Where To Access Testing Services
Standard HIV testing can generally be accessed through any health provider across the country. Each province is responsible for licensing the laboratories that provide HIV screening and confirmatory testing in its jurisdiction. In general, all provincial Public Health Laboratories provide both screening and confirmatory testing. Reference and specialized services, when required, are provided by the National HIV Reference Serology Laboratory after consultation with the provincial laboratory. It is advisable to contact your testing laboratory to confirm the specimen collection details.
Anonymous or POC testing locations can be found by calling a local HIV/AIDS hotline .
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Early Examples Of Home Testing Success In Resource
Home-based testing, part of a wider effort to identify and therefore treat more HIV-infected individuals in resource-limited settings, is showing early signs of success. Surveys and trials that assess home-based testing as well as home delivery of test results have had high test acceptability and uptake compared with facility-based testing in both urban and rural resource-limited settings, particularly among those who cannot afford the cost and time required to travel to a testing center . In a randomized controlled trial of 2445 adults in urban Zambia, participants were offered testing in a clinic or an alternate location among the latter group, 84% chose home as the venue for testing. A greater proportion of participants who were offered clinic-based testing expressed willingness to be tested, compared with those offered an alternate location . However, 56% of those willing participants in the alternate site group actually completed the testing process, compared with 12% among the clinic group. Greater initial willingness to undergo clinic-based testing may be explained by greater familiarity with this approach. The 4.7-fold overall testing completion rate of home testing was attributed in surveys to greater ease of access and privacy .
Further studies in countries including Uganda, Botswana, Zambia, and Mozambique have shown increased comfort level and more frequent completion of the testing process with home-based compared with clinic-based testing .
How Does Hiv Testing At Home Work
You can use the EverlyWell at-home HIV test to screen for HIV from the privacy of your home. Hereâs how it works:
Order the at-home HIV test . The kit will then be shipped to your address .
Register your kit online using the unique ID, then follow the instructions in the kit to collect your sample.
Place your sample in the biohazard bag, slip the bag into the envelope thatâs included with the kit, and apply the prepaid shipping label . This allows you to easily ship your sample to the lab for testing.
After the lab analyzes your sample, youâll be notified that your test results are readyâand youâll be able to view your results on our secure, online platform.
If your HIV test results do come back positive, share your results with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to learn the next steps for treatment. Your healthcare provider may give you HIV treatment . Studies show benefits when people start ART sooner rather than later after they are diagnosed with HIV. By working with your healthcare provider to manage your HIV, it is possible to remain healthy for many years.
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