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.
What Happens After A Positive Hiv Test
After a client receives a positive HIV test result, the result is reported to public health. A positive result initiates a series of processes to support the care of the client, to identify recent partners who may benefit from testing, and to prevent onward transmission.
Public Health notification
HIV is a reportable, or notifiable, illness in all Canadian provinces and territories except for Quebec .
Being reportable or notifiable means that when an HIV infection is confirmed by a clinic, doctor or laboratory, it is reported to public health authorities . Each province and territory has public health laws that stipulate specific requirements for reporting HIV diagnoses. HIV is a reportable disease because it is considered to be of significant importance to public health.
The amount of information collected and shared with public health varies according to each province or territory. However, all provinces and territories provide non-nominal data on positive tests to the Public Health Agency of Canada, which facilitates the production of national-level reports on the state of the HIV epidemic in Canada.
HIV partner notification, or contact tracing, is the practice of identifying, locating and informing someone that a partner they have had sex or used drugs with has been diagnosed with HIV. Contact tracing is meant to encourage the partners to test for HIV to identify new HIV infections as early as possible.
If I Test Positive For Hiv What Follow
If you are HIV-positive, follow-up tests may include the following:
- HIV viral load testingmeasures the amount of HIV in the blood. It is performed when you are first diagnosed to help determine the status of the disease and is ordered at intervals to monitor the effectiveness of therapy.
- CD4 countmeasures the number of CD4 T-cells in the blood. It is ordered when you are first diagnosed to get a baseline assessment of your immune system and it is done at intervals to monitor therapy and the status of the immune system.
- HIV antiretroviral drug resistance testing, genotypicordered when you are initially diagnosed to determine whether the particular strain of HIV that you have is resistant to certain antiretroviral drug therapies. This testing is also ordered when treatment is changed or when there is evidence of treatment failure.
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Is Hiv Testing Necessary For Pregnant Women
HIV testing is critically important for pregnant women. HIV testing is recommended at the beginning of each pregnancy during prenatal care. If any HIV risk factors are present or there is a high incidence of HIV in the population, testing should be repeated in the third trimester. There have been enormous advances in the treatment of HIV-infected pregnant women. With proper management, the probability of transmitting the virus to the fetus is less than 2%. Without proper management, the risk of transmission is as high as 33%. Because undiagnosed HIV is so common, it is necessary to test all pregnant women. It is strongly recommended that all children born to women with HIV also be tested.
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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Other Specialized Hiv Care
Casey House is a hospital providing both compassionate in-patient health care and community programming for people with HIV/AIDS.
Casey House provides:
- Day health care
- Community care and outreach
- help with finding supportive housing for people with HIV/AIDS
- programs that provide volunteer in-home hospice care
The Healthcare Worker There To Help You
Before you test, your healthcare worker will talk to you about your sexual health and why youve decided to test. This is to help them understand your situation so they can offer you the best services and advice.
Remember, the healthcare professional is not there to judge you. There will be nothing you can say that they havent heard before so be honest with them, and ask as many questions as you want. Thats what theyre there for.
You should never feel pressured to test. The results will be completely confidential but you should only go through with it if you want to.
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How Do People Get Hiv
HIV is passed from one person to another:
- through sexual intercourse ,
- through blood , and/or
- from mother to baby.
Most women with HIV have been infected through sexual intercourse. Many did not know their partner was HIV-positive.
If you use drugs or get a new sexual partner while you are pregnant, or do not totally trust your partner, you should be tested for HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B at the beginning and near the end of each pregnancy. No one will think badly of you if you ask to be tested again. They will know you are trying to do the best thing for your baby.
Hiv Transmission In Australia
In Australia, HIV is commonly transmitted through:
- Unprotected anal or vaginal sex .
- Sharing any needles, syringes, or other injecting equipment.
- From mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding This can occur when the mother doesnt know she is HIV-positive, or is not on effective treatment.
- Tattooing or other procedures that involve unsterile or reused equipment.
- Needle stick injuries.
HIV is not transmitted by:
- kissing, hugging, massaging, mutual masturbation and other body contact
- social interaction
- sharing food, dishes, utensils, drinking glasses
- air, breath, or being coughed or sneezed on
- mosquito, insect or animal bites
- use of communal facilities .
It is perfectly safe to consume food and drinks prepared by someone who is HIV-positive even if theyre not receiving treatment.
People with HIV who are on treatment and achieve and maintain an undetectable HIV viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.
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How Do The Tests Work
Most HIV tests use a blood sample, either from a blood draw or finger prick. Others use saliva , but this is a little less accurate than blood tests.
Some HIV tests look for the virus itself. But most look for the antibodies for HIV. Antibodies are part of the immune system and fight infections. When someone is infected with HIV, the body creates antibodies to fight HIV.
Testing results may be available that day or can take longer come back.
Hiv Testing In A Health Care Setting Or Lab
If you take a test in a health care setting or a lab, a health care provider or lab technician will take your sample . If its a rapid test, you may be able to wait for the results, but if its a laboratory test, it can take several days for your results to be available. Your health care provider or counselor may talk with you about your risk factors, answer any questions you might have, and discuss next steps with you, especially if your result is positive.
- If the test comes back negative, and you havent had an exposure during the window period for the test you took, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
- If your HIV test result is positive, the lab will conduct follow-up testing, usually on the same sample as the first.
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Hiv Tests For Screening And Diagnosis
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can detect HIV depends upon different factors, including the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV diagnostic tests: nucleic acid tests , antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests.
An initial HIV test usually will either be an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV test is a rapid test or a self-test and it is positive, the individual should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a laboratory test and it is positive, the laboratory will usually conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are generally very accurate, follow-up testing allows the health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.
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Hiv Testing Outside Of A Health Care Setting Or Lab
If you are tested outside of a health care setting or lab you will likely receive a rapid HIV test
- If the test comes back negative, and you havent had a possible exposure during the previous 3 months, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
- If your test result is positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. Counselors providing the test should be able to answer questions and provide referrals for follow-up testing as well. You can use the HIV.gov locator to find a provider near you.
Hiv Is Detected With A Blood Test
Blood tests are the most common and reliable tests for HIV. The virus is detected by taking a sample of your blood either with a conventional blood test or a rapid test .There is a short period of time between exposure to HIV and the ability for tests to detect HIV or its antibodies. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’ between 2 and 12 weeks.
Most tests used in Australia can detect HIV as early as 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
If your blood test shows that HIV or its antibodies are present, you are HIV-positive.
If you have no antibodies in your blood you are HIV-negative. Sometimes negative results might also mean you are in the window period, so you might need a follow-up blood test to make sure.
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What Information Is Collected When Someone Gets An Hiv Test From A Healthcare Provider Or Community Worker
Non-identifying information collected when a person has an HIV test may include age, sex, city of residence, name of the diagnosing healthcare provider, country of birth, ethnicity, and information detailing the HIV-related risk factors of the person being tested.
Whether the name of the person being tested is collected is determined by the testing option: nominal , non-nominal , or anonymous testing. Nominal and non-nominal testing are widely available in Canada. Anonymous HIV testing is available in some, but not all, provinces.
Nominal testing, or name-based testing, is available across Canada and often takes place within clinics, offices of healthcare providers and hospitals. When a person has a nominal HIV test, the HIV test is ordered using the persons name. If the test is positive, the result is reported to public health authorities using the persons name and the test result is also recorded in the healthcare record of the person being tested.
Non-nominal, or non-identifying testing, is also available across Canada and often takes place within clinics and offices of healthcare providers. If a person has a non-nominal HIV test, the HIV test is ordered using a code or the persons initials or an alias , not their full or partial name. If the test is positive, the result is reported to public health using the persons name in most provinces. The test result is also recorded in the healthcare record of the person being tested.
Should I Tell Anyone Else Of My Test Results
Yes. If you test positive for HIV infection, it is important that you tell your healthcare practitioners as well as all current and future sex partners and/or anyone with whom you share needles. Counseling services are often available from the clinic that performed the test or from your healthcare provider that will help you to inform the people who need to know.
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What Should I Do If I Find Out I Have An Std
Finding out that you have an STD can be a bummer. You might feel mad, embarrassed, or upset at first. But try not to freak out youll be okay and youre not alone.
The best thing to do when you find out you have an STD is to follow your doctors directions for treating it. You should also tell anyone youre having sex with, so they can get tested and treatment if they need it. Its not the easiest conversation, but its an important one. Here are some tips to help.
Many STDs can be easily cured with medication, so you can just finish your treatment and get on with your life. And even though some STDs cant be cured, there are lots of ways to treat your symptoms and prevent you from giving your STD to anyone you have sex with.
People with STDs can be in relationships, have sex, and live totally normal lives. Most people get an STD at least once, and millions are living with STDs now. Having an STD is nothing to feel ashamed of, and it doesnt mean youre dirty or a bad person it just means youre a pretty normal human who got an infection. The reality is that STDs can happen to anybody whos ever been sexual with someone, which is almost everybody on earth. And a few STDs can be spread in non-sexual ways, too.
Who Should Get An Hiv Test
The CDC recommends that everyone in the United States between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
You should be tested more often — at least once a year — if youâre at higher risk of getting HIV, including if you:
- Have had several sexual partners
- Had unprotected sex with someone who is or could be HIV-positive, including someone whose sexual history you don’t know
- Injected drugs with a needle, syringe, or other device that someone else used first
- Have had or are getting tested for tuberculosis, hepatitis, or any sexually transmitted disease, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes
- Have had sex for drugs or money
- Had sex with someone who has a history of any of these
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Zambia: Men Feel Shut Out From Health Care And Fear Stigma
A qualitative study of health-seeking behaviour among young men aged 20-34 in Zambia found that mens attitudes to health care and HIV testing were conditioned by fear of stigma and discrimination, and of undignified death from AIDS. They also felt shut out from the health system and unwelcome in health facilities, unable to obtain care from male healthcare providers and concerned about having to share facilities with women and children. Bad experiences in healthcare facilities tended to be shared with other men, discouraging them from seeking health care.
So, we need a clinic specifically just for men if it is possible, even just create rooms where men can go and lock themselves away from others, one service user in Lusaka said.
How Is Hiv Diagnosed
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved tests that detect HIV antibodies in urine, fluid from the mouth , or blood. If a test on urine or oral fluid shows that you are infected with HIV, you will probably need a blood test to confirm the results. If you have been exposed to HIV, your immune system will make antibodies to try to destroy the virus. Blood tests can find these antibodies in your blood.
Most doctors use a screening blood test. If the screening is positive , the blood sample is tested again to verify the result. If the second test is positive, a test called a Western blot is performed for further confirmation.
It may take as long as six months for HIV antibodies to show up in a blood sample. If you think you have been exposed to HIV but you test negative for it:
- Get tested again in six months to be sure you are not infected.
- Meanwhile, take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. If you are infected, you can still pass HIV to another person at this time.
Some people are afraid to be tested for HIV. But if there is any chance you could be infected, it is very important to find out. HIV can be treated. Getting early treatment can slow down the virus and help you stay healthy. And you need to know if you are infected so you can prevent spreading the infection to other people.
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