Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
Stage : Acute Hiv Infection
Within 2 to 4 weeks after infection with HIV, about two-thirds of people will have a flu-like illness. This is the bodys natural response to HIV infection.
Flu-like symptoms can include:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers
These symptoms can last anywhere from a few days to several weeks. But some people do not have any symptoms at all during this early stage of HIV.
Dont assume you have HIV just because you have any of these symptomsthey can be similar to those caused by other illnesses. But if you think you may have been exposed to HIV, get an HIV test.
Heres what to do:
Personal Stories About Considering Getting Tested For Hiv
These stories are based on information gathered from health professionals and consumers. They may be helpful as you make important health decisions.
My partner and I have been together a few months. I’ve had several HIV tests over the years and all were negative, including one I had in the beginning of our relationship. My partner said since I’m HIV-negative, he doesn’t need a test. But my doctor said that’s not true. He suggested that I talk to my partner about the kind of sex he had previously and ask him to get tested with me. I’m going to do that.
Kevin, age 25
I don’t plan to have a test now. I talked with my doctor at my last physical, and she said my risk of HIV was very low since I’m a widow and not sexually active.
Jocelyn, age 60
I’ve never had an HIV test, and I’m getting ready to start college. I fooled around some in high school, and sometimes we used protection. My mom and I talked, and I’ve decided to have a test. I’m pretty scared about doing something like that, but she says she’ll go with me.
Heather, age 18
Brian, age 45
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Factors That Increase Risk For Hiv Infection
Sexually active but no history of being tested for HIV.
Use of shared drug equipment with a partner whose HIV status is unknown.
Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse with a partner whose HIV status is unknown.
Multiple and/or anonymous sexual partnering.
For men, a history of sex with other men.
Diagnosis of other STI, hepatitis B or C.
Sexual activity, sharing of drug-use equipment, or receipt of blood or blood products for people originating from, or who have travelled to, regions where HIV is endemic.
Receipt of blood or blood products in Canada prior to November 1985.
What Happens If My Test Is Positive
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
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What Happens During An Hiv Test
You will either get a blood test in a lab, or do your own test at home.
For a blood test in a lab:
- A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
For at home test, you will need to get a sample of saliva from your mouth or a drop of blood from your fingertip.
- The test kit will provide instructions on how to get your sample, package it, and send it to a lab.
- For a saliva test, you will use special spatula-like tool to take a swab from your mouth.
- For a fingertip antibody blood test, you will use a special tool to prick your finger and collect a sample of blood.
For more information on at-home testing, talk to your health care provider.
Screening For Hiv In Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you’ll be offered a blood test to check if you have HIV as part of routine antenatal screening.
If untreated, HIV can be passed to your baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Treatment in pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on to the baby.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
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Clinical Indications For Hiv Testing
Individuals requesting an HIV test.
Individuals with symptoms and signs of HIV infection.
Individuals with illnesses associated with a weakened immune system or a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or use of shared drug equipment with a partner whose HIV status is known to be positive.
Pregnant or planning a pregnancy and their partners as appropriate.
Victims of sexual assault.
Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Most people experience a short flu-like illness 2 to 6 weeks after HIV infection, which lasts for a week or 2.
After these symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause any symptoms for many years, although the virus continues to damage your immune system.
This means many people with HIV do not know they’re infected.
Anyone who thinks they could have HIV should get tested.
Some people are advised to have regular tests as they’re at particularly high risk.
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Where Can Someone Get Tested For Hiv
Your health care provider can give you an HIV test. HIV testing is also available at many hospitals, medical clinics, substance use programs, and community health centers. Use CDC’s GetTested treatment locator to find an HIV testing location near you. Getting tested through a professional health care provider is recommended however, there are HIV self-testing kits available. Rapid self-test and mail-in self-test are the two types of HIV self-tests, but state laws regarding self-testing may limit their availability in a location.
A rapid self-test is an oral fluid test done entirely at home or in private. There is currently one U.S. Food and Drug Administration -approved rapid self-test called OraQuick In-Home HIV test. A mail-in self-test requires a person to provide a blood sample from a fingerstick, which is then sent to a lab for testing.
Hiv Testing Types And Lab Technologies
This chapter provides information regarding available testing technologies, approaches to testing and interpretation of results. There are many different types of HIV screening tests that are licensed for use in Canada and can vary by jurisdiction. For questions or information specific to your province or territory please contact your local Public Health laboratory.
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Appendix A: Ethical And Professional Considerations
Policy concerning the ethical and professional roles and responsibilities of care providers is informed by the providers’ respective institutional code of ethics as well as the professional colleges under which they are governed.
The following is designed to complement, not supersede, existing codes of conduct or jurisdictional health policies and regulations or any applicable laws and regulations of the jurisdiction.
What We Know About The Types Of Hiv Tests
HIV tests are very accurate, but no HIV test can detect HIV immediately after a person gets the virus. Some kinds of tests detect HIV sooner than others. In general, nucleic acid tests can detect HIV the soonest, followed by antigen/antibody tests, and then antibody tests.
Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. Your immune system makes antibodies when youre exposed to bacteria or viruses like HIV. Antibody tests look for these antibodies in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV slightly sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
More Information With a rapid antibody screening test, results are ready in 30 minutes or less.
A self-test is an antibody test you can buy at a pharmacy or online. There is currently one available FDA-approved self-test, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test.
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test gives fast results at home. You have to swab your mouth to get an oral fluid sample and use a kit to test it. Results are ready in 20 minutes. If the test says you have HIV, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. The manufacturer provides confidential counseling and refers you to follow-up testing sites.
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When Should I Test If I Think I Have Been Exposed To Hiv
Speak to a healthcare professional immediately. They will talk to you about your situation and help you decide what to do next. The most important thing is to take a test. Read the next question to find out how long you will need to wait after you were exposed to HIV before you can test.
Itâs important to speak to a healthcare professional immediately because you could get PEP if it is within 72 hours of when you think you were exposed to HIV. This is emergency HIV treatment that can prevent HIV in people who were recently exposed to HIV.
Types Of Hiv Testing Services
The majority of healthcare venues carry out “standard” HIV testing. This means a tube of blood is collected in the clinic, hospital or physician’s office and sent to the medical laboratory along with a requisition ordering an HIV test. Standard testing can be done in any type of setting . Test results are generally available within one week.
4.5.2 Point-of-Care or rapid testing
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How Can You Tell If You Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant rely on symptoms to tell whether you have HIV.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information so you can take steps to keep yourself and your partner healthy:
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives and will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex. An undetectable viral load is a level of HIV in the blood so low that it cant be detected in a standard lab test.
- If you test negative, you have more HIV prevention tools available today than ever before, like pre-exposure prophylaxis , medicine people at risk for HIV take to prevent getting HIV from sex or injection drug use, and post-exposure prophylaxis , HIV medicine taken within 72 hours after a possible exposure to prevent the virus from taking hold.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If you have HIV and take HIV medicine as prescribed throughout your pregnancy and childbirth and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be less than 1%. HIV medicine will protect your own health as well.
Why Is Hiv Testing Important
Knowing your HIV status can help keep youand otherssafe.
If you are HIV negative:
A negative HIV test result shows that you do not have HIV. Continue taking steps to avoid getting HIV, such as using condoms during sex and, if you are at high risk of getting HIV, taking medicines to prevent HIV . For more information, read the HIVinfo fact sheet on The Basics of HIV Prevention.
If you are HIV positive:
A positive HIV test result shows that you have HIV, but you can still take steps to protect your health. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy . People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day to treat HIV infection. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV, and people with HIV should start ART as soon as possible. ART cannot cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.
A main goal of ART is to reduce a persons viral load to an undetectable level. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in the blood is too low to be detected by a viral load test. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partner through sex.
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When To Test For Hiv
HIV testing should be part of your regular health routine if you are having sex or sharing needles to inject drugs.
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, see a healthcare professional right away to get tested and talk through whatâs next. Donât wait for symptoms to appear â not everyone has them.
Even if you donât think you have been at risk, testing regularly is good practice for people who are having sex.
- The basics
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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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.
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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What Else Do You Need To Make Your Decision
Check the facts
- No, that’s not right. You could have HIV and not have symptoms. Or you might mistake early symptoms for the flu or mono. But those symptoms go away, and then you may not have other symptoms for years. During that time, the virus will multiply in your body and damage your immune system.
- Yes, that’s right. You could have HIV and not have symptoms. Or you might mistake early symptoms for the flu or mono. But those symptoms go away, and then you may not have other symptoms for years. During that time, the virus will multiply in your body.
- It may help to go back and read “Get the Facts.” You could have HIV and not have symptoms. Or you might mistake early symptoms for the flu or mono. But those symptoms go away, and then you may not have other symptoms for years. During that time, the virus will multiply in your body.