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How Do Home Hiv Tests Work

What Are The Rapid Hiv Test Options

WHO: HIV self-testing – Questions and Answers

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 at 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 HIV tests.

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:

Third-Generation Tests

Test Window And Accuracy

If you get a negative result, it’s important to remember that the test may not detect HIV up to three months after infection. You can only be sure you are truly HIV-negative if your most recent test was after the window period and you havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you have had a potential exposure, you will need to be retested.

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How Does Hiv Testing At Home Work

You can use the EverlyWell at-home HIV test to screen for HIV from the privacy of your home. Hereâs how it works:

Order the at-home HIV test . The kit will then be shipped to your address .

Register your kit online using the unique ID, then follow the instructions in the kit to collect your sample.

Place your sample in the biohazard bag, pack it into the box, place the box in the shipping bag thatâs included with the kit, and apply the prepaid shipping label . This allows you to easily ship your sample to the lab for testing.

After the lab analyzes your sample, youâll be notified that your test results are readyâand youâll be able to view your results on our secure, online platform.

If your HIV test results do come back positive, share your results with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to learn the next steps for treatment. Your healthcare provider may give you HIV treatment . Studies show benefits when people start ART sooner rather than later after they are diagnosed with HIV. By working with your healthcare provider to manage your HIV, it is possible to remain healthy for many years.

Whats Involved In Testing For Hiv

OraQuick HIV Self

Testing for HIV is a simple and pain-free process. It involves giving a small sample of blood or swab from your mouth. Your results will be confidential . The healthcare provider will explain the process and answer any questions you have. They are there to help you.

  • The basics
  • Test your knowledge of HIV testing
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    Best For Fast Results: Oraquick In

    OraQuick is the first FDA-approved home HIV test. According to the company, the test is the same that healthcare professionals have used for many years.

    A person needs to use an oral swab to perform the test. They take a sample at home, and results are usually available within 2040 minutes.

    An individuals purchase of this HIV test is kept confidential on bank statements, and the company sends the tests using discreet packaging.

    According to OraQuick, shipping takes 210 days.

    A person should consult their doctor about any positive HIV test results, as they may need to undergo additional assessments to confirm.

    Price: OraQuick In-Home HIV Test costs $38.99.

    How Does Hiv Testing Work

    First, its important to understand the basics of HIV testing. HIV is a virus, so it is detected through an antibody test. The virus can be detected in as little as 2 weeks after exposure with up to a 99% accuracy rating.

    There are several types of HIV tests that doctors give out, depending on the estimated time between exposure. Most tests have the highest accuracy when they are given 3 months after exposure. 3rd generation antibody tests are the most common and require a blood sample that is tested at a lab. 4th generation antibody/antigen tests can detect HIV within just 1 month of exposure. Results from these tests take a few days to a few weeks, but they are highly accurate.

    Rapid tests are also available for faster results within just 20 minutes. However, the accuracy rating for rapid tests is lower, so a doctor may recommend a second test if the results are positive.

    Normally, a doctor will draw a sample of blood for testing, sometimes it is done through saliva or urine testing. The cost of this type of test is typically covered by insurance. Many healthcare and STD clinics offer free or discounted testing services.

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    Whats Next If The Test Is Positive

    If a person gets a positive result, a qualified lab should retest the sample or a new sample to check on the accuracy. A positive result on a follow-up test means that a person has HIV.

    Its recommended that people who test positive for HIV see a healthcare professional as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.

    A medical professional can get a person with HIV started on antiretroviral therapy right away. This is a medication that helps stop HIV from replicating and can help prevent transmission of HIV.

    Its important to use condoms, dental dams, or other barrier methods with any and all sexual partners while waiting for test results or until the virus becomes undetectable. Its also always best to refrain from sharing needles.

    Seeing a therapist or joining a support group, whether in person or online, can help cope with the emotions and health questions that come with an HIV diagnosis. Managing HIV can be stressful and difficult to discuss with even close friends and family.

    Speaking privately with a therapist or being part of a community made up of others with the same medical condition can help a person understand how to lead a healthy, active life after diagnosis.

    Seeking additional help from medical professionals, such as social workers or counselors often associated with HIV clinics, can also help a person deal with issues related to treatment. These professionals can help navigate scheduling, transportation, finances, and more.

    What Is An Hiv Test

    A step-by-step guide to the OraQuick HIV self-test

    An HIV test shows whether you are infected with HIV . HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against disease-causing germs, such as bacteria and viruses. If you lose too many immune cells, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and other diseases.

    There are three main types of HIV tests:

    • Antibody Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies in your blood or saliva. Your immune system makes antibodies when you are exposed to bacteria or viruses, like HIV. An HIV antibody test can determine if you have HIV from 312 weeks after infection. That’s because it can take a few weeks or longer for your immune system to make antibodies to HIV. You may be able to do an HIV antibody test in the privacy of your home. Ask your health care provider about at-home HIV test kits.
    • HIV Antibody/Antigen Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood. An antigen is a part of a virus that triggers an immune response. If you’ve been exposed to HIV, antigens will show up in your blood before HIV antibodies are made. This test can usually find HIV within 26 weeks of infection. The HIV antibody/antigen test is one of the most common types of HIV tests.
    • HIV Viral Load. This test measures the amount of the HIV virus in the blood. It can find HIV faster than antibody and antibody/antigen tests, but it is very expensive. It is mostly used for monitoring HIV infections.

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    Arguments For Hiv Self

    An essential question is: Will HIV self-tests be used and, if so, by whom? Will these tests be utilized by the low-risk worried well, or will they be accessed by the high-risk individuals who currently evade testing or need frequent repeat testing?28 In addition, how accurate are the results, and will users trust them? The preponderance of evidence demonstrates that rapid self-tests are accepted by those who are at the highest risk for HIV infection and that the results are highly accurate and trusted.

    Several other studies have examined which individuals are likely to accept HIV self-testing. A cross-sectional telephone survey of adults in New York City, NY, USA, in 2006 posed the question of whether respondents would use a rapid home test kit if available.30 Of the 6,639 adults who answered the survey, 56.2% reported they would use a test if available participants from traditionally high-risk groups were more likely to report they would use a home test, such as blacks , Hispanics , persons age 1824 , those with two or more recent sex partners , and those with recent MSM sexual activity . This analysis identified cost as a major barrier, which will be discussed later as a potential barrier to self-testing in the Arguments Against section.

    What Is It Used For

    An HIV test is used to find out if you have been infected with HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . Most people with HIV don’t have AIDS. People with AIDS have an extremely low number of immune cells and are at risk for life-threatening illnesses, including dangerous infections, a severe type of pneumonia, and certain cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma.

    If HIV is found early, you can get medicines to protect your immune system. HIV medicines may prevent you from getting AIDS.

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    Will I Have To Pay For The Test Out Of Pocket

    Most insurance companies pay for HIV tests, as do most plans under the Affordable Care Act. Some pharmacies or community health centers offer free testing too.

    You can pay for some at-home tests with an HSA or FSA. But directly purchased tests may not be covered by private health insurance or Medicaid. Check with your insurance provider or your doctor about reimbursement before buying one.

    Types Of Hiv Testing Services

    Should doctors keep patientsâ HIV status a secret?

    4.5.1 Standard

    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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    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.

    Best For Lab Collection: Health Testing Centers

    Health Testing Centers offers a large variety of home HIV tests. A person can choose from single HIV tests or packages that include testing for HIV and other STIs.

    The company claims that its test is the type the CDC recommends.

    Health Testing Centers also says the single HIV test works within 1845 days following exposure to the virus.

    Once a person selects the test they want, they choose which lab they wish to send their test to once completed.

    Individuals can collect the test in person from the lab or receive it in the mail. Once they complete the test, they need to send the sample to their nominated lab, after which they should receive their results within 13 business days.

    Price: Health Testing Centers HIV tests start at $79.

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    What Are The Steps For A Person To Take The Test

    Before a person takes a test, they should read the instructions in detail.

    To take a self-test, the tester must:

    • Wash and dry their hands.
    • Use the lancet to draw a drop of blood and allow the drop of blood to fall into bottle 1, without touching their finger on the opening of the bottle. Cap the bottle.
    • Shake and pour the liquid from this bottle into the testing device and allow a few seconds for the liquid to disappear.
    • Shake and pour the liquid from bottle 2 into the device and allow a few seconds for the liquid to disappear.
    • Shake and pour the liquid from bottle 3 into the device and allow a few seconds for the liquid to disappear.

    In total, the test normally takes less than five minutes to perform.

    The results of the test will be displayed on the testing device as soon as the liquid from bottle 3 disappears into the device. The test results are simple to interpret. A control dot should appear near the top of the test window to indicate that the test has worked. If no control dot appears, the test kit has not worked and the test should be repeated using a new kit.

    If a second dot appears , this indicates a reactive result. If no second dot appears, this indicates a negative result.

    The following images show the possible results of the test:

    Reactive result Invalid test

    One dot may be lighter than the other.

    In rare instances, a faint ring may appear at the test dot this is a positive result.

    What Happens If The Result Comes Back Positive

    HIV Testing

    The next step is to receive medical advice. A doctor can suggest a treatment plan to alleviate any symptoms, for example, and prevent the infection from passing to others.

    A healthcare professional can also provide guidance about any other sexual health concerns and describe ways of reducing the risk of contracting STIs.

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    How Do Antibodies And Antigens Interact

    One way to explain how an antigen and antibody interact is to compare them to a lock and key. The antigen acts like a lock and the antibody like a key. Each key is different for each lock.

    As we grow, especially in childhood, we develop a library of millions of different antibodies. This makes up our acquired immune system.

    This is a huge reference bank of immune cells that are generally resting or sleeping until they are needed.

    Most HIV tests are based around this interaction. On the surface of HIV there are lots of proteins which act as antigens. One of the most common in early infection is called protein 24 .

    Antigens for HIV are detectable in most people around 16 days after infection.

    Antibodies take longer to produce and are not usually detectable until 4-12 weeks after infection.

    When Will I Get The Results

    How long it takes for HIV test results to come back will depend on the type of test you are taking. If youre taking a rapid test, you will get your results within 20 minutes. Other types of tests will be sent to a laboratory, and it may take a few days or a few weeks to receive the result. You will then have another test or two to confirm the result.

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    Different Types Of Tests

    Self-tests are usually modified versions of rapid, point-of-care test kits that were originally designed for healthcare professionals. Their processes, packaging and instructions have been simplified so as to guide you through the steps of taking a test.

    With some tests, you use a lancet to release a small quantity of blood from a fingerprick. Other tests require a sample of oral fluid, obtained by swabbing an absorbent pad around the outer gums, adjacent to the teeth.

    Self-tests may be second- or third-generation HIV tests. They are only able to detect HIV antibodies, whereas the fourth-generation HIV tests which are normally used by healthcare professionals are also able to detect p24 antigen . Fourth-generation tests are therefore better at picking up recent infections.

    Find out more: Home HIV testing

    Second- and third-generation tests can accurately detect chronic HIV infection. But their ability to detect recently acquired HIV is more variable.

    Their window periods are a little longer than for other tests. The window period is the time immediately after infection when tests may not detect markers of infection and therefore give a false negative result.

    oral fluid

    In HIV testing, refers to moisture obtained by swabbing an absorbent pad around the outer gums. Some tests require a sample of oral fluid, which in a person living with HIV is likely to contain HIV antibodies.

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