Detecting Hiv: Seroconversion Time Is Important
When a person contracts the human immunodeficiency virus , timing can affect HIV test results. Although tests have become more accurate, none of them can detect an HIV infection immediately after its contracted.
The bodys defense mechanisms kick into action after contracting HIV. The immune system begins to develop antibodies to attack the virus. This production of HIV antibodies is called seroconversion. Before seroconversion, there may not be detectable levels of HIV antibodies in a persons blood.
Before seroconversion, an HIV blood test could produce a false negative result. A positive HIV antibody test will not appear until the body makes enough HIV antibodies to be detected.
If I Am Pregnant And Have Hiv Will My Baby Also Have Hiv
Most women with HIV can protect their baby from becoming infected during pregnancy. Proper pre-natal treatment can reduce the risk that an HIV-positive mother will pass the virus to her child to less than 1 percent. The only way these special treatments can be provided is if the health care professionals know the mother is living with HIV. Treatment is most effective when started early in pregnancy. HIV-positive moms should not breastfeed their babies because HIV is sometimes passed this way.
What Is The Window Period
The window period is time between HIV infection and the point when a test will give an accurate result. Different types of tests have different window periods.
- 4th generation antibody/antigen tests: 45 days.
- 3rd generation antibody only tests: 60 days.
- Point of care tests (self-sampling, self-testing and rapid tests: 90 days.
During the window period a person can have HIV and be very infectious but still test HIV negative.
UK guidelines recommend a window period of six weeks for a 4th generation antigen/antibody test. By this time 99% of infections will be detected . Testing after only four weeks will detect 95% of infections.
A negative result at 6 weeks with a 4th generation test does not need to be confirmed.
A negative result from testing earlier, for example after four weeks, needs to be confirmed by a second later test.
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What Happens After An Hiv Test And Getting The Results
- If your result is negative, you can stop worrying but its good to keep testing regularly.
- If your result is positive or , you will need to give a blood sample to have your results confirmed.
- Remember that HIV is now a manageable illness if you do test positive you can start treatment which will keep you healthy.
is often the hardest step to take, but it is usually not as bad as you imagine.
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.
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How Soon After Exposure To Hiv Can Tests Detect I Have The Virus
The window of time between exposure to HIV and when a test will show you have the virus varies from person to person and by the type of test:
- Nucleic acid test : The NAT test can detect HIV infection the earliest. It can tell if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure.
- Antigen/antibody test: The antigen/antibody test can detect infection 18 to 45 days after exposure when performed by a lab using blood from a vein. If the sample is from a finger prick, the window is 18 to 90 days after exposure.
- Antibody test: Antibody tests can detect infection 23 to 90 days after exposure.
If your initial test is negative, get a second test after the window of time has passed. The second test can confirm your negative result in case you got tested before the infection was active in your body.
Remember, post-exposure prophylaxis can help prevent infection, but you must start it within 72 hours of possible infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to start PEP.
Im Worried About Getting Hiv
Youve probably heard a lot about how the virus is transmitted. However, there are only a few ways you can get HIV.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths about how HIV is passed on, which can get in the way of the facts and confuse people.
Instead of worrying about HIV, learn how its transmitted and what you can do to protect yourself.
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Treatment Options For Hiv
The HIV infection has three stages:
- acute HIV infection
- clinical latency
- stage 3 HIV
Acute HIV infection is often described as having the worst flu ever. This stage presents with typical flu-like symptoms.
In clinical latency, the virus is living in a person and causes few or no symptoms.
In stage 3 HIV, the bodys immune system is badly damaged and vulnerable to opportunistic infections.
Anyone whos newly diagnosed should focus on finding and taking medications that work best for them. The most commonly prescribed medicines fall into these four categories:
- reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- integrase inhibitors
Combination therapy, with multiple drug types, is commonly used.
Although each type of drug fights HIV in a slightly different way, they work either to stop the virus from infecting cells or to stop it from making copies of itself.
With the proper medication and management, its possible that HIV may never progress to a later stage.
Whats The Outlook For Those With Syphilis And Hiv
Antibiotics can often effectively treat syphilis in those with and without HIV. When identified and treated promptly, the outlook for syphilis in people with HIV is generally good.
Taking antiretroviral drugs as directed can also help to improve syphilis outlook in people living with HIV. In addition, sticking to treatment can slow HIV disease progression and lower the risk of HIV transmission.
In some cases, syphilis may progress faster or be harder to treat in those living with HIV. This appears to be more likely in people with a higher viral load and lower CD4 count.
After treatment, its possible to get syphilis again in the future. This can be prevented using many of the same strategies used to prevent HIV, such as always using a condom during sex, getting tested regularly for STIs, and asking sexual partners to be tested too.
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Having Syphilis Can Increase Hiv Viral Load
Viral load refers to the amount of HIV viral particles per milliliter of blood. It can be used as an indicator of HIV progression as well as how effective antiretroviral therapy is.
Having syphilis is associated with increases in viral load. This effect on viral load can also increase the risk of HIV transmission events.
A 2012 study compared males with an HIV and syphilis coinfection with HIV-positive males that didnt have syphilis. Over a period of 6 months, researchers found that:
- Increases in viral load were seen in 27.3 percent of those with coinfections, compared to 16.6 percent of those with HIV alone.
- Viral load increases were also observed in those with coinfections receiving antiretroviral drugs.
- Those with coinfections had a drop in CD4 count while they had syphilis, but this returned to previous levels after treatment.
Im Worried About What The Test Involves
Theres no reason to be worried. The test is quick, painless and confidential, and uses just a tiny sample of your blood or a swab taken from your mouth.
Remember the tester is there to help you they do this all the time. You can ask them any questions about what to expect. You can also take a look at our HIV testing section which guides you through everything you need to know about getting tested.
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Hiv Negative After 1 Year
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Figure : Time To Develop Antibodies *
95% people by week 4, 99% by week 6 and more than 99.9% by week 12
Figure 8 shows the range of times that people can take to respond to HIV infection.
The earliest marker is HIV viral load. This is in the first weeks after infection . A high viral load is related to seroconversion symptoms.
The first HIV protein that can be measured is p24 .
Viral load and p24 tests are not accurate for diagnosing early HIV if the results are negative.
An HIV antibody response can be detected as early as two weeks in a few people and in more than 99.9% of people by 12 weeks. An antibody test at 4 weeks will detect 95% of infections.
Antibody testing at 4 weeks can give you a good indication of your HIV status, but you need a test at 12 weeks after the exposure to be considered HIV negative.
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False Negatives After The Window Period
After the window period, in people who arent taking antiretrovirals, false negative results are extremely rare.
The accuracy of a single HIV test depends in part on characteristics known as sensitivity and specificity. Sensitivity is an indication of test performance when testing people who do have HIV, whereas specificity reflects test performance in relation to people who do not have HIV. Many modern HIV testing devices are extremely sensitive and extremely specific in relation to long-standing HIV infection. Theres more information on sensitivity and specificity on another page.
To some extent, the chances of having a false negative result also depend on how common HIV is in your community. When very few people among those testing actually have HIV, it is even more likely that a negative HIV test result is accurate. This is expressed by something known to healthcare workers as the negative predictive value.
The proportion of people who acquire an infection or develop a condition during a specified period of time. Incidence reflects newly acquired infections and conditions. See also prevalence.
For example, take a test with 99.5% sensitivity and 99.5% specificity. If this test is used in a setting where 0.2% of people have HIV , the probability of a negative result being correct is 99.998%.
If the same test is used in a setting with a much higher HIV prevalence of 25% , the probability of a negative result being correct is marginally lower, at 99.832%.
How Does Being Durably Undetectable Affect My Risk Of Transmitting Hiv To A Sexual Partner
People living with HIV who take antiretroviral medications daily as prescribed and who achieve and then maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting the virus to an HIV-negative partner.
Three large multinational research studies involving couples in which one partner was living with HIV and the other was notHPTN 052, PARTNER and Opposites Attractobserved no HIV transmission to the HIV-negative partner while the partner with HIV had a durably undetectable viral load. These studies followed approximately 3,000 male-female and male-male couples over many years while they did not use condoms. Over the course of the PARTNER and Opposites Attract studies, couples reported engaging in more than 74,000 condomless episodes of vaginal or anal intercourse.
Learn more about HIV treatment as prevention.
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Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
If You Have A Negative Test Result Does That Mean That Your Partner Is Hiv
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex. Therefore, taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner is infected.
It’s important to be open with your partner and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partner may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they know they’re infected. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
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Testing Positive On Hiv Antibody Tests
Since the early days of the HIV epidemic, we have used antibody tests to test for HIV. Antibody tests are the most affordable and accessible HIV tests. They are the most common types of HIV tests at testing sites around the world because they provide rapid, on-the-spot results.
Antibody tests do not detect HIV. Instead, they detect antibodies that the immune system produces in response to HIV infection.
Want to know more about different types of HIV tests, how they work and how early they detect HIV? Check out thiseasy-to-read guide from Avert orread this Q& A by the CDC.
WHAT ARE ANTIBODIES?
Our immune systems develop antibodies in response to all kinds of pathogens. Anytime you get sick or get any kind of infection, your body builds up a defense system and creates antibodies to try and fight that specific infection off. If these antibodies are successful, some infections will go away but the antibodies never do. They will remain in your body, helping to protect you from getting the same infection in the future.
In this way, antibodies allow our bodies to remember a specific infectious agentlike a particular strain of the fluand then respond to it more quickly if exposed to it again in the future. Once we develop antibodies to a virus we may have those antibodies for life or for many years.
HIV ANTIBODIES WHEN YOURE UNDETECTABLE
What Is The Difference Between Hiv And Aids
The term AIDS refers to the most advanced stages of HIV infection. Most of the conditions affecting people with AIDS are opportunistic infections that generally do not affect healthy people. In people with AIDS, these infections are often severe and sometimes fatal because the immune system is so ravaged by HIV that the body cannot fight off the infection. Symptoms of opportunistic infections common in people with AIDS include:
- coughing and shortness of breath
- seizures and lack of coordination
- difficult or painful swallowing
- severe headaches
People with AIDS also are particularly prone to developing various cancers. These cancers are usually more aggressive and difficult to treat in people with AIDS.
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What Does It Mean If Hiv Viral Load Is Undetectable
Although there is currently no cure for HIV, the right HIV treatment can help to increase CD4 count and lower viral load.
Viral load is the term used to describe the levels of the virus in the body. When treatment is taken correctly, viral load can become so low that its referred to as undetectable. While this does not mean that HIV has been cured, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it does mean that there is no longer a risk of passing the virus on to a partner during sex.
Its important to remember that many people with HIV infection may experience little to no symptoms – making it easy for the virus to go unnoticed and undiagnosed. Early detection of HIV and the correct HIV treatment and medication is key to going on to live a healthy life, which is why regular screening of your sexual health is crucial. Testing can be done with your local healthcare provider or from home with an at-home lab test.
LetsGetCheckeds at-home STI Tests detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections. The blood test for HIV involves a simple finger-prick sample and online results will be available within 2-5 days. Our dedicated medical team will be available throughout the process to provide medical advice, support, and guidance.
You consider taking a test if:
Who Will Know The Results Of My Testing
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.
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