Importance Of Hiv Testing For Prevention Of Hiv Infection
People with HIV who know their status can get HIV treatment and remain healthy for many years. Studies show that the sooner people start HIV treatment after diagnosis, the more they benefit. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in the blood , reduces HIV-related illness, and prevents transmission to others. People with HIV who take HIV treatment as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load will not transmit HIV to their sex partners.
People who get tested and learn they dont have HIV can make decisions about sex, drug use, and health care that can help prevent prevent HIV. Taking HIV medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly effective for preventing HIV.
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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 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 sexual partners could potentially contract HIV and then transmit it to others.
During the early stages, which is known as primary infection or acute HIV infection, HIV is much easier to transmit 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
- using injection drugs
How Can You Test Yourself For Hiv At Home
Being able to conduct an HIV test at home is one way to encourage more people to stay aware of their status. There are currently two different types of at-home HIV tests availableThere are 2 kinds of at-home HIV tests available.
The first is an HIV rapid home test kit which can be purchased online or at some pharmacies. Most of these tests require a saliva sample and can provide results within 20 minutes. The OraQuick In-Home HIV test is approved by the FDA and it is very simple. You simply open the sealed test tube and remove the test stick. Insert the test stick into your mouth and swipe it along your top and bottom gums, then insert it into the test tube. Within 20 minutes, the test results will display either a negative or positive result.
The other option is to use a main-in self-test. You will request the at-home HIV test from your healthcare provider or through an online service. Most mail-in tests require a small blood sample, often from a finger prick. The sample is returned to a lab through the mail for testing, which is given in a few days or weeks.
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About Hiv & Hiv Self Test
What is HIV?4
HIV is a virus, that targets the immune system and weakens peoples defense against many infections and some types ofcancer. As the virus destroys and impairs the function of immune cells, infected individuals gradually become immunodeficient. Immune function is typically measured by CD4 cell count.
Immunodeficiency results in increased susceptibility to a wide range of infections, cancers and other diseases that people with healthy immune systems can fight off.
What is AIDS?4
The most advanced stage of HIV infection is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , which can take many years to develop if not treated, depending on the individual. AIDS is defined by the development of certain cancers, infections or other severe long term clinical manifestations.
How The Test Is Performed
The test requires the user to swab their gums to collect an oral fluid sample and use the materials in the kit to test the sample. The user must follow the test manufacturer’s instructions, which comes with the kit, to ensure an accurate test. A phone number is also included with the HIV self-test for anyone to call to get help with conducting the test. OraQuick’s website also has a step-by-step video to guide users through the test.
Users should not eat, drink, or use oral care products before starting the test. They should put the test stick they swabbed their gums with into the test tube provided by the kit. Wait 20 minutes, and one line will appear on the test stick if you are negative. If two lines appear, that means HIV antibodies have been detected.
Its important to take a follow-up test at a medical office to confirm the results.
OraQuick is an antibody test, and it takes 23 to 90 days after an exposure for antibody tests to detect HIV.
The expected performance of the test is 92% test sensitivity, according to the OraQuick package. The FDA explains that this equates to one false-negative result out of every 12 test results in people who are HIV-positive. Clinical studies have found that OraQuick produces one false-positive out of every 5,000 tests. This is why its important to take another test at a medical office to confirm the diagnosis.
Autoimmune diseases like lupus may interfere with the results, and may incorrectly produce a false-positive.
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Home Hiv Testing: Good News But Not A Game Changer
A. David Paltiel, PhD, Yale School of Public Health, 60 College Street, PO Box 208034, New Haven, CT 06520-8034.
Rochelle P. Walensky, MD, MPH, Massachusetts General Hospital, 50 Staniford Street, 9th Floor, Boston, MA 02114
On 3 July 2012, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test to detect antibodies to HIV types 1 and 2. This test will soon be available for sale both online and at more than 30 000 retail outlets nationwide. This is the first truly over-the-counter home HIV testing kit, the same test that professionals have used in health care and community-based settings since its approval in 2004. The test provides simple, accurate, in-home detection of HIV infection in 20 minutes using an oral fluid sample .
Public response to the FDA announcement was swift and overwhelmingly enthusiastic. Supporters labeled the approval decision a victory for personal empowerment . National authorities predicted that OraQuick would eliminate the stigma and inconvenience of HIV testing in professional settings, remove barriers to lifesaving care, and help bring the domestic AIDS epidemic under control .
The Risk Of Hiv Transmission Is Higher With Condomless Sex
HIV can be transmitted via the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina, and anus. It can also potentially be transmitted through cuts or sores on the mouth or other areas of the body.
Condoms and dental dams provide a physical barrier that can help prevent HIV transmission. When people engage in sex without condoms, they dont have that layer of protection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission as long as you use them every time you have sex. Latex condoms offer the most protection against transmission of HIV. If youre allergic to latex, the CDC says that polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms also reduce the risk of HIV transmission, but they break more easily than latex.
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Condoms Only Work If Used Correctly
Condoms are highly effective at preventing the transmission of HIV and other STIs but they only work if theyre used correctly.
To use a condom effectively, always start to use it prior to sexual contact because bacteria and viruses can be transmitted through pre-ejaculate and vaginal fluid. Make sure only to use water-based lubricants with a condom. Oil-based lubricants can weaken latex and cause the condom to break.
If you and your partner are having sex in multiple ways such as anal, vaginal, and oral sex its important to use a new condom each time.
Benefits And Downsides Of At
At-home testing is not the same as getting tested in a medical office or lab. While there are many benefits to at-home HIV testing, you should also weigh the downsides before deciding which type of testing is right for you.
Benefits of at-home HIV testing include:
- Convenience: You can do the test on your own time and without having to set up an appointment or travel to a medical facility.
- Simplicity: Test kits are designed to make the process straightforward and easy to do in your own home.
- Transparent pricing: Because you do the sample collection yourself, there are no copays or unexpected technician fees for at-home tests.
Downsides of at-home HIV testing include:
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What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you donât have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but itâs too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, itâs important to see your health care provider regularly.
Patients Who Present With A Home Test Result In Hand Require Particular Sensitivity
Until now, we have discussed the situation where the patient inquires prospectively about the purchase of a home HIV test. A more probable scenario is that patients will present after the fact, with the results of a home test in hand. Patients who report a negative result should be reminded that this reveals nothing about very recent exposures and that, if they have been at consistently high risk, negative results probably reflect good fortune more than any immunity from infection. For patients who report histories of particularly high risk-taking, it may also be important to consider the possibility of false-negative results. The OraQuick home test has an estimated 92% sensitivity, meaning that 1 in 12 people who have HIV infection will nevertheless receive a negative test result . When a false-negative result is suspected, a second screeningpreferably one that tests for HIV RNAshould be obtained.
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What The Findings Tell Us
From the point of view of specificity, the figures confirmed that the incidence of false positives remains extremely low, even with the earlier generation tests.
The figure only worsened when retesting bloods from the acute stage infections. Of the 58 samples tested, the third-generation rapid tests achieved a sensitivity of only 5.2% to 25.9%, meaning that the majority of such infections would be missed using these rapid, antibody-based tests.
Even the fourth-generationDetermine rapid antigen/antibody test was able to identify only half of the acute infections, despite having an estimated sensitivity of 96.6% and specificity of 100%. According to the UCSF researchers, the Determine test worked best during acute infection when the patient’s viral load was over 500,000.
The lab-based ARCHITECT combination antigen/antibody test performed best. With an estimated specificity of 99.1% and a specificity of 100%, the tests were able to identify nearly 90% of acute infections.
How Long Do I Need To Wait After Exposure To Hiv Before I Can Test
It takes a bit of time for HIV to show up in an HIV test â this is called the window period. The length of the window period will depend on the type of test you take. For some tests it is up to three months and for other tests it is one month.
Read more about window periods in the âIn detailâ tab.
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Best For Payment Options: Health Testing Centers
- Collection method: This test requires a cervical swab or urine sample.
- Results time: People will receive their results within 34 days.
- Price: This test costs $99.
Health Testing Centers offer a variety of home test kits to screen for several STIs, including HPV. Females take a sample from their cervix, while males take a urine test.
According to the company, the tests check for the most common forms of high risk HPV that may develop into cancer.
To order the test, a person selects the test they need and the laboratory they wish to use.
After paying for the test online, an individual can choose to visit their local laboratory or receive a test kit through home delivery.
According to the company, a person should receive their test kit in the mail within 34 business days, and after collecting their sample, they should mail their test to their chosen lab. The laboratory then sends the results via email.
The HPV test from Health Testing Centers costs $99. A person may use their HSA but may not be eligible to claim through their private health insurance.
- Collection method: This test requires a swab collection.
- Results time: People will receive their test results within 25 days.
- Price: This test costs $89.
myLAB Box produces this HPV home test kit for females aged 30 years and older. The company recommends individuals take a test even if they received a vaccination for HPV.
What Are The Three Different Types Of Hiv Testing
There are three main types of HIV tests: antibody tests, RNA tests, and a combination test that detects both antibodies and a viral protein called p24 . All tests are designed to detect HIV-1, which is the type of HIV in the United States. Some antibody tests and the combination test can also detect HIV-2 infections, which are usually limited to West Africa. No test is perfect tests may be falsely positive or falsely negative or impossible to interpret .
Positive test results are reportable to the health department in all 50 states and include the patient’s name. This information is then reported to the CDC so that the epidemiology and infection spread rates can be monitored. The names sent to the state remain confidential and will not be reported to employers, family members, or other such people. Some states allow anonymous testing in which the patient’s name is not recorded.
HIV antibody tests: HIV possesses many unique proteins on its surface and inside the virus itself. When someone is infected with HIV, their body produces proteins designed to tag the virus for elimination by the immune system. These proteins are called antibodies, and they are directed against the unique proteins of HIV. Unfortunately, these HIV antibodies do not eliminate the virus, but their presence serves as a marker to show that someone is infected with HIV. HIV antibody tests are the most commonly used tests to determine if someone has HIV.
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How Effective Are Home Hiv Tests
There are some concerns regarding the accuracy of an at-home HIV test. One study compared the results of the two types and concluded that tests given by a healthcare professional were 99.3% accurate, whereas self-administered tests were 92.9% accurate.
The OraQuick At-Home HIV test has been approved by the FDA, as it meets their standards for accuracy. However,evidence shows that about 1 in 5,000 of these tests resulted in a false-positive, and 1 in 12 were false negatives.
Generally speaking, an at-home HIV test is considered to be about as accurate as a rapid test at the doctors office if it is conducted correctly. However, they are slightly less accurate than a 3rd or 4th generation antibody test.
One reason that the test results from at-home HIV tests may not be entirely reliable is due to the testing process. You would need to follow the instructions perfectly to ensure an accurate result. There are far more variables when it comes to at-home testing compared to a healthcare clinic. If you miss a step or accidentally compromise the sample, you could have a false result.
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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What Do The Tests 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 occurs for the body to produce antibodies, so its best to wait to take these tests until 12 weeks after you think you may have gotten infected.
Antigens are substances that the body recognizes as foreign and that activate an immune response. Testing for both antigens and antibodies at home requires taking a blood sample 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 at-home HIV tests work?
At-home HIV test kits include everything you need to collect a blood sample yourself and then send it back to a laboratory for testing. Kits will come with lancets to prick your finger and blood cards to collect the sample. Youll then use the included shipping envelope to return your sample to the laboratory for testing. In most cases, youll be notified within a few business days that your results are available to view online.
Which at-home HIV test should you choose?