But What About Counselling When Testing For Hiv
In the past, one of the biggest stumbling blocks when it came to the the proposed sale of self-test kits in South Africa was the historical insistence of the need for pre- and post-test counselling when testing for HIV something that can’t be enforced if people are testing at home. It was believed that if people didn’t get counselling it could potentially increase their risk for unmanaged anxiety and the potential for suicide.
However, Professor Bekker says that a lot has changed over the past three decades: “Pre- and post-test counselling is largely from a time when we had very little to offer patients who tested positive. We were giving a life sentence and it was felt that people needed to be prepared for this possible outcome through counselling. There is still concern that with the need for life-long treatment people would still need to be prepared. However, were also trying to ‘normalise’ HIV as a chronic infectious disease. It is manageable, and is no longer a life sentence.
Can I Safely Test Myself At Home
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is the only HIV test approved by the FDA that people can use to test themselves at home or in a private location. OraQuick was approved in 2012 for sale in stores and online to anyone age 17 and older.
The kit does not require sending a sample to a lab. It tests fluid from the mouth and delivers results in 20 to 40 minutes.
What Are The Benefits Of Home Hiv Tests
HIV is much easier to manage and treat if its identified early and treatment is started as soon as possible.
Home HIV tests allow people to receive results almost immediately sometimes within minutes without having to wait for an appointment with a healthcare professional or take time out of their schedule to visit a lab.
Early identification is essential for successful long-term treatment and survival with HIV.
Home tests empower people to learn whether they have the virus earlier than any other testing methods. This can help them limit the virus effect on them and on others around them.
Early identification can even protect people they do not know, as their sexual partners could potentially contract HIV and then transmit it to others.
Early treatment can suppress the virus to undetectable levels, which makes HIV untransmittable. The CDC considers any viral load of
During the early stages, which is known as primary infection or acute HIV infection, it can be much easier for a person to transmit HIV to others because levels of virus in the blood are very high.
A person should consider taking an HIV test if they experience these symptoms after the following activities:
- having sex without a condom or another barrier method
- injecting drugs
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In 20 Minutes You Can Test Yourself For Hiv At Home
900 free HIV self-testing kits were sent to 120 locations across Bulgaria, thanks to a pilot project of Single Step Foundation with support from WHO.
A pilot project conducted in Bulgaria has shown that more people get tested for HIV when self-testing is available. In situations where testing is based in health-care institutions, it can be a challenge to encourage some people to come forward.
The worries in my community I think come from that many of them are still hidden, not just from their families but also from themselves, said Teodor Paunov. And also, the idea that it might happen to someone else, but it will never happen to me, so why would I get tested, I am fine.
Community-based testing is a good way to overcome those barriers, but it can be labour intensive. Self-testing can be less expensive, and the pilot project clearly shows the role it can play. The findings are especially relevant to health authorities working hard to maintain essential services during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Testing for HIV is a critical public health intervention because it is the first step towards treatment and care. With current antiretroviral treatment, people who test positive can expect to live a healthy life with HIV without passing it on to anyone else.
A simple saliva test with results in 20 minutes
For some of the guys with a positive result, it was rather difficult to cope with the sad news, explained Baev.
Valuable behavioural insights
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Situations In Which Self
Performance of self-tests is poorer in a number of situations. Results may not be accurate.
- In cases of recent HIV infection, during the tests window period.
- In people with diagnosed HIV who are taking HIV treatment. These tests are not a reliable way to confirm that you still have HIV infection.
- In people who are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis or post-exposure prophylaxis . If they acquire HIV, they may have a delayed antibody response, extending the window period.
- When test instructions have not been correctly followed for example not enough blood has been collected.
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Get Advice From A Health Professional First
It’s important to remember that, if you’re taking any medicines, they may affect your test results.
It’s worth getting advice from a health professional first, as using a self-test kit may not be appropriate for you.
It’s rare for a self-test kit to give a 100% guarantee that you have or do not have a particular condition.
It may not be as helpful as having a consultation with a GP or another health professional.
If you have any concerns, speak to a healthcare professional, such as a pharmacist, practice nurse or GP.
Should I Share My Result With Others
Yes. Its very important to share your status with your sexual partners. You may disclose your status to others if you wish, but youre under no obligation.
While insurance companies must have your permission to view your health record, you may be charged higher prices with a chronic condition.
Federal law now prevents insurance companies from denying coverage to people who have HIV or AIDS. And there may be a waiting period before insurance covers a chronic condition.
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Figure 1: Elisa Antibody Detection Test
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.
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When You Get Your Results
No self-test kit is 100% reliable, and a CE mark is still no guarantee that a particular home test is suitable for you.
If you have any concerns about your results after using a self-help kit, make sure you get advice from a health professional.
If you do a self-test for HIV and the result is positive, it’s important that you contact a health professional as soon as possible and get the emotional and medical support you need.
What Happens If My Test Is Positive
First of all, please dont worry. Our services are here to support you and one of our experienced clinicians will discuss your treatment options during your appointment.
During the appointment, you will be asked how you would like to tell your sexual partners that they are at risk. This is essential to prevent any further spread of STIs and to make sure they get treatment if needed. This is always done very sensitively and we can do this for you so you dont have to disclose your identity. You can read more about partner notification on this website and how we support you through this.
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Who Needs Hiv Testing
The CDC advises that routine HIV testing should be provided in all healthcare settings, especially if testing for other sexually transmitted infections at the same time.
People engaging in behaviors that put them at an increased risk for contracting HIV should be tested at least once a year.
Known risk factors include:
HIV testing is also recommended:
- before a person begins a new sexual relationship
- if a person learns that theyre pregnant
- if a person has symptoms of another sexually transmitted infection
An HIV infection is now considered a manageable health condition, especially if treatment is sought early.
If a person contracts HIV, early detection and treatment can help:
- improve their frame of mind
- lower their risk of disease progression
- prevent the development of stage 3 HIV, or AIDS
It can also help reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to other people.
The life expectancy of people with an HIV diagnosis who start treatment early is the same as those without the virus. People who know that theyve been exposed to HIV should seek care as soon as possible.
In some cases, if theyre treated within 72 hours, their healthcare professional may prescribe post-exposure prophylaxis . These emergency medications may help reduce their chances of contracting HIV after theyve been exposed to it.
Not all tests require a blood sample or a visit to a clinic.
This is because it generally takes 3 months for the body to produce a detectable number of antibodies.
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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When You Should Take An Hiv Test
What testing service you should use, and which type of test, depends on when you might have been exposed to HIV. Signs of HIV infection dont show up in the blood right away. It normally happens within four weeks of infection, but can be longer.
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours , its possible to take post-exposure prophylaxis to help stop an infection from happening.
If your risk was recent, then your test provider will probably advise you to take a test immediately, followed by a second one a few weeks later. The second test will pick up any infection the first one may have missed.
If your risk was in the last three months, make sure you tell the person testing you, as it may affect the type of test youre given.
A self test is not guaranteed to pick up an infection thats occurred in the previous three months. If you think youve been exposed in the last three months, you should get a test in person.
Very occasionally it can take up to three months for antibodies to appear in the blood, so an HIV negative result is only totally accurate if three months have passed between the test and the last time a risk was taken. However, a negative result four to eight weeks after taking a risk is a very good sign that HIV infection hasnt happened.
Who Should Get Tested
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested at least once in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Some people have a higher risk of contracting HIV, according to HIV.gov. Even if youve had a past test, its recommended to get retested if you answer yes to any of the following questions since your last test:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex anal or vaginal with an HIV-positive partner?
- Have you had more than one sexual partner?
- Have you injected drugs and shared needles or works with others?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for another STI?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for hepatitis or tuberculosis?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions, or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
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What Is The Cost Of The Rapid Hiv Test
The cost for the rapid HIV test, whether it uses oral fluid or a finger-stick blood sample is about $8 per test for public health officials and $8-$60 for other organizations. Most insurance plans now cover HIV testing.
There are several rapid tests available which can be done on either whole blood from a vein or finger stick, or oral fluids collected on a special swab. Many of these tests also can detect HIV-2, which is a different virus than HIV-1.
HIV-1 is the retrovirus that typically causes AIDS and is the HIV type most prevalent in most of the world, including the United States. If a person has antibodies to HIV-1, it means that he or she is infected with the HIV-1 virus that causes AIDS.
HIV-2 is a virus found primarily in western, sub-Saharan Africa. HIV-2 is rare in other parts of the world, but it has been reported sporadically in many locations. It is believed to be spread by the same methods of transmission as HIV-1. If a person has antibodies to HIV-2, it means that he or she is infected with the HIV-2 virus.
Testing for both HIV-1 and HIV-2 is important, particularly in people who may have acquired their infection in West Africa or from someone who may have links to that area. Much of the HIV testing currently done in the United States, including the rapid oral test, detects both HIV-1 and HIV-2 .
Available rapid tests include the following:
What Does A Negative Hiv Test Result Mean
A negative HIV test means that no signs of infection have been found in the sample you provided. As HIV infection takes time to develop in the body a negative result only indicates that no infection was present when the sample was taken. A further test should be taken if you are not sure exactly when you may have been exposed to HIV.
If you have not been exposed to HIV for more than 45 days a blood test showing a negative result should be reliable. Your doctor may recommend taking a test at 3 months to confirm the first result.
If you stop having sex and test after 45 days and 3 months, a negative result should be conclusive.
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How Do Hiv Tests Work And What’s Involved
- There are plenty of places which offer free HIV testing you can find your nearest provider either by searching online or asking a healthcare professional.
- Testing for HIV is a simple and pain-free process. It involves giving a small sample of blood or oral fluid.
- Your results will be confidential and the healthcare provider will be able to explain the process and answer any questions you have. They are there to help you.
- HIV tests are very reliable. Some HIV tests will give a result within 20 minutes and others are sent to a lab so it may take a few weeks to get your results.
It is really common to feel a little worried about going for an HIV test, but making the decision to test is the best thing you can do for your health. The process is quick, painless, confidential and almost always free.
Getting Tested For Hiv
HIV testing is important. Someone living with HIV who isnt getting treatment can still transmit the virus, even if they have no symptoms. Others may pass the virus to others through an exchange of bodily fluids. But todays treatment can effectively eliminate the risk of transmitting the virus to a persons HIV-negative sexual partners.
According to the CDC , antiretroviral therapy can lead to viral suppression. When someone with HIV can maintain an undetectable viral load, they cant transmit HIV to others. The CDC defines an undetectable viral load as fewer than 200 copies per milliliter of blood.
Taking an HIV test is the only way to determine whether the virus is in the body. There are known risk factors that increase a persons chance of contracting HIV. For example, people whove had sex without a condom or shared needles may want to consider seeing their healthcare professional about getting tested.
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