Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test at many places:
- Your health care providers office
- Health clinics or community health centers
- STD or sexual health clinics
- Your local health department
- Substance abuse prevention or treatment programs
Many pharmacies and some community-based organizations also offer HIV testing.
HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests.
These places can connect you to HIV care and treatment if you test positive or can discuss the best HIV prevention options for you if you test negative.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
Making Hiv Testing Routine
You might want to test more regularly than this, for example, if you are having sex with a new partner or feel you are more at risk. Groups who are more at risk are recommended to test more regularly. Testing every 3-6 months is often advised for men who have sex with men.
Testing regularly helps keep your mind at rest, and if you test positive, it means you can start treatment quickly, protecting your health.
Importance Of Hiv Testing
If you have the virus, finding out quickly means you can start treatment right away so you can feel better and live a long, full life. You can also take steps so you don’t pass HIV to other people.
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If My Hiv Test Is Negative
Consider your ongoing HIV prevention strategy. This may include PrEP, a once-daily pill that is highly effective in protecting against HIV.
Talk with your healthcare provider about whether you should schedule a follow-up test. The window period when HIV antibodies are detected by a test can take up to 12 weeks after exposure.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, PEP post exposure prophylaxis may be an option.
Who Should Get Tested
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy. About 1 in 8 people in the United States who have HIV do not know they have it.
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How Does The Oraquick In
The test checks for antibodies to HIV. Antibodies are proteins the body makes to fight off an infection.
The kit contains a test stick you use to swab your upper and lower gums to collect an oral fluid sample from your mouth. The stick is then placed in a tube with a testing solution. After 20 to 40 minutes, one line will appear if the test is negative. Two lines indicate that HIV antibodies were detected and that you may be HIV positive.
If the home test is positive, a follow-up laboratory test will need to be done to confirm the results.
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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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.
Linkage To Prevention And Care
HIV testing is an important entry point for people into other services, such as HIV care, treatment, and prevention, as well as other services such as harm reduction and housing.
For people who test HIV positive, attempts should be made to ensure they are linked to, engaged in, and retained in HIV care and treatment, as well as to ensure they are linked to information and services related to prevention, to help avoid the onward transmission of HIV.
For people who test HIV negative, but may continue to be at risk of acquiring HIV, attempts should be made to ensure that they are linked to prevention services, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and risk-reduction counselling, and repeat testing.
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Where Did Hiv Come From
Interestingly enough, the CDC says that HIV comes from a type of chimpanzee usually found in Central Africa . Scientists think that the chimpanzee version of the virus was probably transmitted to humans when humans hunted the chimpanzees for meat . This could have happened as long ago as the 19th century! But the virus took decades to reach the U.S., where it didnt rise to prominence until the 1970s.
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If My Test Is Negative Do I Need Get Tested Again
Talk to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site to see if you need to get tested again.
Some reasons to get tested again include if you:
- have sex without a condom
- are a guy who has sex with other guys
- have had sex with more than three partners in the past year
- get an STD
- are a woman and are pregnant
How Do I Get Tested For Hiv
A small blood sample, mouth swab, or urine sample is used to test people for HIV. It can take as long as three to six months after initial exposure for the signs of the virus to show up in your blood, and years before you show any symptoms.
You can be tested at a doctor’s office, hospital, community health center, or other health clinic. Some places have mobile testing vans. AIDS services organizations also may provide testing. At-home testing kits are also available.
Depending on where you go, testing may be free. You may be able to choose to take the test without giving your name. Many providers or groups that offer HIV testing also provide counseling.
If you choose to take a test at home, make sure to use a test that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . If the test has not been approved by the FDA, it may not give accurate results. Home tests are sold at drugstores and online. Follow up with your doctor to confirm the results of at-home tests and, if necessary, begin treatment.
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Hiv Transmission In Drug Users
For people who inject drugs, estimates of the risk of transmission from a contaminated needle range from 0.3% to 4.0%, with several of these estimates falling in the range of 0.7% to 0.8%. Sharing ancillary injecting equipment, such as filters or cookers, has been shown to increase the risk of transmission, even in the absence of sharing needles and syringes. Other factors that have been shown to increase the risk of HIV transmission for injection drug users include: unsafe locations, type of drug and frequency of drug injection. Non-injection drug users are also at risk of HIV infection. Drug use often alters sexual behaviours by increasing risk taking. As well, several drugs have been reported to be independent risk factors of HIV transmission.
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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Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
Why Is Hiv Testing Important
Knowing your HIV status can help keep youand otherssafe.
If you are HIV negative:
Testing shows that you dont 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 ClinicalInfo fact sheet on HIV prevention.
If you are HIV positive:
Testing 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 cant 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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What Information Does Someone Receive When Having An Hiv Test
Before and after the test, the care provider should give the person being tested appropriate written or verbal information or counselling about HIV and how it is transmitted.
Before an HIV test is given, people should receive appropriate information and/or counselling through a pre-test discussion.
During pre-test counselling the person is asked about their knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention and any sexual and/or drug use behaviours that may have put them at risk for HIV. The testing process may also be reviewed, particularly when point-of-care testing is being used and there is a possible need for confirmatory testing. Pre-test counselling may also include a discussion about testing for other sexually transmitted or blood-borne infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis C. It may also include a conversation about the persons post-test support needs .
For more information on post-test counselling procedures, please see provincial, territorial, and national HIV testing and screening guidelines.
Different Types Of Hiv Tests
- Standard laboratory blood tests are very accurate and provide results within a few days.
- Finger-stick blood tests provide results in 20 minutes or less.
- Oral swab tests do not require giving blood and provide results in 20 minutes.
- Self test kits are available for purchase they use an oral swab and allow you to test yourself in private.
The time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can tell for sure whether they have HIV is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and depends on the type of test used to detect HIV.
Recent HIV infections can result in symptoms that may seem similar to cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, rash and sore throat. If you are experiencing these symptoms after a possible HIV exposure, be sure to tell your health care provider you are concerned you have an HIV infection, not just a cold or flu.
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What Kinds Of Hiv Tests Can A Person Get From A Healthcare Provider Or Community Worker In Canada
There are two primary approaches to HIV testing: 1) standard HIV testing and 2) rapid point-of-care testing . To test for HIV, a sample of a persons blood is taken . The blood is either sent to a laboratory to be tested for HIV or, with rapid point-of-care testing, the blood is tested immediately for HIV at the location it was taken.
If the blood is sent to a laboratory, the person being tested may have to return for a second visit to the place where they were tested to receive the result.
With point-of-care testing, the person receives the result within a few minutes. The result may be non-reactive or reactive . If the test is non-reactive, no further testing is required and the person receives a negative result. However, if the test is reactive, then a second blood sample is taken and sent to the laboratory for confirmatory testing. The person will have to return for a second visit to receive the final result.
For more information on these approaches to testing, see the CATIE fact sheet HIV testing technologies.
A word on the window period
The window period is the period of time from when a person is exposed to HIV to the time when an HIV test can tell for certain whether they have HIV. If the person has a negative test result but is in the window period, then they should be advised when to test again to get a definitive result. For more detailed information on the window period, see the HIV testing technologies fact sheet.
A Word About Window Periods
The window period refers to the time it takes for HIV to show up in an HIV test. The length of the window period will depend on the type of test you take.
If you feel like you may be at risk of HIV, do not wait, speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. The most important thing is to test.
If you test negative but think you may have been exposed to HIV more recently, you can take another test once the window period has passed.
The picture below shows the window periods for different HIV tests. Some tests can give you an accurate result within four weeks, while others can take three months to be accurate .
A healthcare worker will be able to explain how long the window period is for the test you are taking, and will tell you if they think youll need to test for HIV again.
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How Soon After Exposure To Hiv Can Tests Detect I Have The Virus
The window of time between exposure to HIV and when a test will show you have the virus varies from person to person and by the type of test:
- Nucleic acid test : The NAT test can detect HIV infection the earliest. It can tell if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure.
- Antigen/antibody test: The antigen/antibody test can detect infection 18 to 45 days after exposure when performed by a lab using blood from a vein. If the sample is from a finger prick, the window is 18 to 90 days after exposure.
- Antibody test: Antibody tests can detect infection 23 to 90 days after exposure.
If your initial test is negative, get a second test after the window of time has passed. The second test can confirm your negative result in case you got tested before the infection was active in your body.
Remember, post-exposure prophylaxis can help prevent infection, but you must start it within 72 hours of possible infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to start PEP.
Is There A Cure For Hiv
There is no cure for HIV. But if you acquire the virus, there are drugs that help suppress the level of HIV in the body and prevent its spread to other people. Doctors use a combination of drugs called HAART to treat HIV/AIDS. Although it is not a cure, HAART has greatly reduced the number of deaths from HIV-related complications in the United States. HIV has become like a chronic disease, and people living with HIV receiving successful treatment can live a long and healthy life.
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