Dried Blood Spot Test
A DBS test is a free, accurate and convenient way to test for HIV in the comfort and privacy of your home.
It involves collecting a few drops of blood from your finger and allowing the blood to dry on a test card. You then send the card away to get tested and wait around a week to get the result back. You can register for a DBS HIV test here.
How Long Does Seroconversion Take
The timeframe between when a person contracts HIV and when tests can detect the infection is known as the window period. Everyones immune system is different. This makes it difficult to predict how long this stage will last.
Scientists have developed sensitive blood tests since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Its now possible to detect HIV antibodies, as well as other components of HIV, earlier than ever before. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, most people test positive within a few weeks of contracting HIV. For others, it may take
During the window period, a person may develop symptoms similar to the flu or other common viruses that include:
- swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. And they may range from mild to severe. But its possible to pass through the early infection stage without experiencing any symptoms at all. During this time, a person may not even realize that theyve contracted HIV.
What Does A Negative Hiv Test Result Mean
A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV. That’s because of the window periodthe time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. The window period varies from person to person and is also different depending upon the type of HIV test.
Ask your health care provider about the window period for the kind of test youre taking. If youre using a home 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 for the test youre using to be sure. To learn more about the window period and when a person should get retested, see CDCs How soon after an exposure to HIV can an HIV test if I am infected?. If you get an HIV test within 3 months after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again in 3 more months to be sure.
If you learned you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, you can only be sure youre still negative if you havent had a potential HIV exposure since your last test. If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex and taking medicines to prevent HIV if youre at high risk.
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S To Take After Being Exposed To Hiv
Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV should get tested. If the initial test results are negative, schedule a follow-up test.
Ask a healthcare provider or contact the local department of public health to find out where to go for testing. Testing sites may offer either anonymous or confidential testing, depending on the laws in the state and local area. Anonymous means names are not recorded by the testing site, and only the person being tested has access to the results. Confidential means a healthcare provider has access to the results, and the results may be recorded in a persons medical file at the testing site.
Talk to a healthcare provider about post-exposure prophylaxis and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Peoples actions can help stop the spread of the virus. Until someone is confident that theyre HIV-free, they should avoid sexual contact or use a condom during sex. Its also important to avoid sharing needles with others.
To find a nearby HIV testing site, visit GetTested.cdc.gov.
All Hiv Symptoms But Negative Test
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How Long Do I Need To Wait Before I Test
Thereâs a window period between exposure to HIV and a positive test because it takes time for your body to either build a response to the infection or for the virus to replicate enough for a test to detect it. HIV window periods can vary.
For example, if you have unprotected sex on a Friday night, and get an HIV test Monday morning, the test wonât be able to detect HIV or an immune response to HIV yet. There hasnât been enough time for a positive result, even if the virus is in your body.
To get the earliest, most accurate result, first consider when you were exposed and whether youâre showing symptoms.
- If you know exactly when you may have come into contact with the virus, take a test 3 months after that date. Tests 3 months after exposure should be 99% accurate.
- If you are having symptoms of HIV, see your doctor right away. Your doctor may want to use a test that can look for the virus directly in your body.
What Does A Positive Test Result Mean
If you receive an HIV-positive result, the healthcare worker will talk to you about what this means and what will happen next. For most people, receiving a positive diagnosis can be a shocking and emotional experience this is completely normal. The healthcare worker is there to support you and to answer any questions that you have.
Treatment means that HIV is now a manageable illness. Your healthcare provider can link you to support and treatment services, and any other health services that you need. Any questions that you have you can ask them its their job to help answer your worries. You will most likely be asked to schedule another appointment with them in the very near future. Its very important to keep appointments and use the support offered to you. You may also be offered screening tests for other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
Find out what questions to ask and what support is available to help you cope with the results on our Newly diagnosed page.
It has almost been eight months since I was diagnosed with HIV. I was confused, ashamed, I kept asking, ‘How this could be?’. Slowly but surely Im beginning to accept that HIV is going to be a part of me and I definitely have control over it.
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You Just Tested Negative
Testing negative for HIV can be a huge relief. You made an important choice to take care of yourself by getting tested. You should be proud of that.
Remember that it can take a couple of weeks for an HIV test result to be positive for HIV after someone is infected with HIV. This period of time is called the “window period.” If you have had any possible exposures to HIV in the previous few months, you should get tested again in 1 to 3 months to be sure that you do not have HIV, and continue to protect yourself in the meantime. If you feel sick or have symptoms that might be caused by acute HIV infection , see your provider right away. You may need additional testing for acute HIV.
Testing negative for HIV does not mean that you are immune to the virus, so it is important to continue protecting yourself. Don’t get discouraged or give up if you slip .
There are several things you can do to keep protecting your health, now that you know you are negative:
What Should I Do If My Test Is Negative
If your test result is negative, youll probably breathe a big sigh of relief. But dont let down your guard. Its important to protect yourself in the future. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether PrEP is right for you. The PrEP daily pill can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sexual contact by 99%. For IV drug users, it lowers the risk by 74%. PrEP is very important if you are HIV negative and in a stable monogamous relationship with HIV positive partner.
Even if you take PrEP, its still smart to practice safer sex. Always use a condom to reduce your risk of getting HIV and other STDs.
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Q: How Can One Partner Test Positive And The Other Test Negative
A: It is quite common for one partner to test positive and the other negative, even if they have been having sex without condoms.
Mostly this is explained by luck and the role of other risk factors. Over time, most people will catch HIV if they continue to be at risk.
Even though you have been exposed and not infected, you can still catch HIV in the future.
Now you know your partners HIV status you can still stay together and have sex safely.
If your partner has an undetectable viral load on treatment, there is zero risk, even without condoms.
The PARTNER study showed this for both vaginal and anal sex and in gay and straight couples.
You can use PrEP to reduce the risk to close to zero. This is a great way to protect your health.
You can also stay safe and prevent infection by using condoms when having sex and not sharing needles or blood products with your partner.
Is Hiv Testing Confidential
If you test positive for HIV, your status becomes part of your private medical record and is protected by federal privacy laws. Your state may require your healthcare provider to report the infection to your state health department. State departments send results to the CDC without your personal identifiable information.
Some states have laws that require you or your healthcare provider to notify your partner of your HIV-positive status. In some states, if you dont report your status to your partner, you can be charged with a crime.
You can choose anonymous testing. Anonymous tests dont link the results to your information. The state health department still collects the statistics, but the results arent part of your medical record.
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Hiv Negative: Last Tested On
Listen to an audio recording of this blog.
Part of the Post-test Series
- All of us get an HIV test at least once in our lives as part of routine medical care.
- Annual screening for people who are at high risk for HIV including people who inject drugs and their sex partners, people who exchange sex for money or drugs, sex partners of people living with HIV, and gay, bisexual or other men who have sex with men or heterosexual persons who themselves or whose sex partners have had more than one sex partner since their most recent HIV test.
- More frequent testing for those of us whose behavior might put us at an even higher risk for HIV infection or those of us who use PrEP.
- Abstaining from sex
- Using a condom correctly every time
- Reducing your number of sexual partners
How Do You Get Hiv
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. The most common way for someone to get it is through a sexual activity where you exchange bodily fluids. This activity includes vaginal, oral and anal sex. However, you can contract the virus in other ways, including:
- Sharing needles with an infected person to take drugs.
- Passing between a mother and her unborn child.
- Rarely, from a blood transfusion .
A lot of misinformation exists about how you can get HIV. You cannot contract HIV from:
- Air or water.
- Touch, such as shaking hands, hugging or social, closed-mouth kissing.
- Pets or insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.
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What Is The Treatment For People With Syphilis And Hiv
As with diagnosis, the treatment of syphilis in HIV-positive people is similar to that for HIV-negative people.
Treatment of the early stages of syphilis typically involves a single injection of the antibiotic penicillin. Later stages of syphilis can involve additional injections or a course of intravenous antibiotics.
Because having HIV is associated with the potential risk of ineffective syphilis treatment, careful follow-up is important. This typically involves repeat syphilis blood tests in the months after treatment to verify that treatment was effective.
Can Hiv Be Transmitted During The Window Period
Its important to know that people can transmit HIV before seroconversion.
The time between exposure and the immune systems initial response is a period of acute HIV infection. Following the initial transmission, the amount of HIV in the body is extremely high. So is the risk of transmitting the virus. Thats because the body has yet to manufacture the antibodies needed to fight it, and its not yet receiving treatment.
During this stage, most people have no idea that theyve contracted HIV. Even if theyve been tested, they may have received a false negative result. This might lead to engaging in practices with known risk factors, such as sex without a condom, where a person could unknowingly spread the virus to other people.
Anyone who thinks theyve had a recent exposure should tell their healthcare provider. They may check the HIV viral load or prescribe preventive treatment for a month.
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Understanding A Negative Result
What does a negative test result mean?
A negative result doesnt necessarily mean that you dont have HIV. This is due to the window period.
If you test again after the window period, have no possible HIV exposure during the window period, and the result comes back negative, you do not have HIV.
If you have certain risk factors, you should continue getting tested at least once a year. Learn more about who is at risk for HIV and why they should be tested more often.
If I have a negative result, does that mean my partner is HIV-negative also?
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex or share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. And the risk of getting HIV varies depending on the type of exposure or behavior. It is important to remember that taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner has HIV.
Its important to be open with your partners and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partners may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they are aware of their status. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
I’m Worried About Hiv And Aids
- There are only a few ways you can get HIV. Know the facts and be aware of the risks so you can protect yourself and others.
- Testing is the only way to know for sure whether or not you have HIV. Whatever the result, you can get on with your life.
- Antiretroviral treatment means that people living with HIV can live long and healthy lives. The sooner you get on the right treatment, the better your long-term health will be.
Are you worried about HIV and AIDS? We can help by talking you through some of the most common things people are concerned about when it comes to HIV.
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How Does Hiv Testing Work
In the early stages of HIV infection, the virus itself is difficult to detect. Rather than looking for the virus, HIV testing usually involves looking at the body’s reaction to the presence of the virus. The measure of the amount of virus in an individual’s blood stream is called the viral load.
Antibodies are produced by the body in reaction to the presence of a virus. An HIV antibody test measures the presence of antibodies in response to the presence of HIV. The most common HIV antibody tests are ELISA and Western Blot. These tests can now be performed on samples of oral fluid.
What Does A Negative Result Mean
If your HIV test result comes back negative it means that the test hasnt found signs of HIV infection.
However, if you have been at risk since your last test then youll need to test again. Also remember that most HIV tests can only detect HIV one to three months after exposure. If you were at risk more recently than this you will need to test again to be sure that your results are accurate.
Using a condom is the best way to protect yourself from HIV.
Be aware that testing negative for HIV doesnt mean that your partners are HIV-negative. HIV tests only apply to the person who took the test. If any of your previous or current partners are worried about HIV, encourage them to take a test.
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