How Do I Get My Results
Depending on the type of test you take, you will have to wait either a few minutes for your results , or anywhere between a couple of days or weeks . Your healthcare professional should explain how you will get your test results. If you are self-testing, there will be information on how to read your results with your test kit.
If your result is negative, the health centre will contact you to let you know that you tested negative. All positive and will have to be checked again, so you will be asked to come back for further testing.If you get a positive result after using a self-test kit you will need to go to a healthcare clinic.
Make An Appointment To Announce The News
Find a quiet place where you wont be disturbed and set up an appointment to meet there. If you suspect your partner will react badly, it might be good to make it a public area that will discourage a big dramatic scene that other people might see.
Making an appointment in a specific time and place signals to your partner that something important will be discussed. And it gives you a time frame for how long youd like to prepare.
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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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv/aids In Women
Many people have no symptoms when they first become infected with HIV. Some people may have a flu-like illness within a month or two after exposure to the virus. These symptoms usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for those of another viral infection.
More severe symptoms may not appear for 10 years or more. Even during the asymptomatic period, the virus is active inside a persons body and can be passed to another person.
As the immune system worsens, a variety of complications start to occur. For many people, the first signs of infection are large lymph nodes or swollen glands that may be enlarged for more than three months. Other symptoms often experienced months to years before the onset of AIDS include:
- lack of energy or fatigue
- skin rashes or flaky skin that is hard to heal
- short-term memory loss
Most symptoms of HIV disease are similar in men and women. Women who have HIV can have additional symptoms that happen more often. These include:
- vaginal yeast infections
- other vaginal infections such as bacterial vaginosis common sexually transmitted diseases like gonorrhea, Chlamydia and trichomoniasis human papillomavirus infections that cause genital warts and can lead to cervical cancer pelvic inflammatory disease
- infection of a womens reproductive organs and menstrual cycle changes, such as not having periods
First Stage: Acute Hiv Infection Symptoms
Most people don’t know right away when they’ve been infected with HIV. But they may have symptoms within 2 to 6 weeks after theyâve gotten the virus. This is when your body’s immune system puts up a fight. It’s called acute retroviral syndrome or primary HIV infection.
- Headache and other neurological symptoms
If you have symptoms like these and might have come into contact with someone with HIV in the past 2 to 6 weeks, go to a doctor and ask that you get an HIV test. If you donât have symptoms but still think you might have come into contact with the virus, get tested.
Early testing is important for two reasons. First, at this stage, levels of HIV in your blood and bodily fluids are very high. This makes it especially contagious. Second, starting treatment as soon as possible might help boost your immune system and ease your symptoms.
A combination of medications can help fight HIV, keep your immune system healthy, and keep you from spreading the virus. If you take these medications and have healthy habits, your HIV infection probably wonât get worse.
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How Can You Tell If You Are Hiv
Make sure you are straightforward and specific in your approach. Lightfoot says to tell the person that you are HIV positive rather than saying that you have a chronic disease or virus. Then spell out what you want from the person, such as, I need someone I can talk to and love no matter what, and I hope that person is you..
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What Do I Need To Know About Dating With Hiv
Some people feel like their love lives are over when they find out they have HIV, but its just not true. People with HIV can have fulfilling romantic and sexual relationships. People living with HIV can have relationships with partners who dont have HIV or with partners that are also living with HIV . HIV treatment helps keep you healthy and helps you avoid passing HIV to someone else. If your partner does not have HIV, they can also take a medicine called PrEP that can help protect them from getting HIV through sex.
Its important to tell your sexual partners about your HIV status. That way, you and your partners can make more informed decisions about safer sex, testing, and treatment that are right for the both of you.
Its normal to be worried about how your partners going to react. And theres no way around it: some people might get freaked out. If that happens, try to stay calm and talk about your plan to stay healthy and how they can stay HIV negative. It might help to give your partner a little time and space to process. You could also suggest they talk with your HIV doctor about ways to protect themselves from HIV.
If you tell someone you have HIV and they hurt you, shame you, or make you feel bad, its not ok. You deserve to be with someone who respects and cares about you, and there are plenty of people out there who will.
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What Does Viral Suppression Mean
The terms viral suppression and undetectable viral load are used interchangeably to mean the same thing. This is when antiretroviral drugs reduces a persons viral load to an undetectable level. Viral suppression does not mean a person is cured HIV still remains in the body. If ARVs are discontinued, the persons viral load will likely return to a detectable level and they will no longer be virally suppressed.
What Happens If I Get A Negative Result
This means that no HIV antibodies were detected. A negative result doesnt always mean that you dont have HIV. Thats because of the window period. If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period to be sure.
If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex.
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Telling People Youre Hiv Positive
Talking about what youâre going through can help, but think carefully about who you tell about your diagnosis.
Work out why you want to tell them and think of the potential consequences .
If you decide to tell them, work out how you will answer any questions they might ask, such as âHow did you get it?â
Find out more about telling people youâre HIV positive in the living with HIV section.
If your family or partner would like support to help them cope with your diagnosis, they can also contact HIV organisations.
You might also want to meet other people with HIV. Finding out how other people have coped with a positive diagnosis, and hearing about their experiences of living with HIV, can be helpful for some people.
There are support groups for people who have recently found out theyâre HIV positive. Your HIV clinic, a GP or a helpline can let you know whatâs available in your area.
There are also support groups for specific people, such as young people, women, gay people, people from Africa and people who are HIV negative and have a partner who is HIV positive.
The website healthtalk.org has videos and articles about peopleâs experiences of living with HIV, including getting an HIV diagnosis.
Talking To New Partners
Talking about HIV with someone you are dating casually or someone you met recently may be difficult. You might not know this person very well or know what kind of reaction to expect. When telling a casual partner or someone you are dating, each situation is different and you might use a different approach each time. Sometimes you may feel comfortable being direct and saying, Before we have sex, I want you to know that I have HIV.
Other times, you may want to bring it up by saying something like, Lets talk about safer sex. Whichever approach you choose, you should tell the person that you have HIV before you have sex the first time. Otherwise, there may be hurt feelings or mistrust later. Also be sure to take your HIV medications every day and practice safer sex . Whatever way you decide to tell your partner, the tips at the bottom of this page may help.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv How Is Hiv Diagnosed
To diagnose HIV, the doctor will need:
Testing for HIV involves:
- a confirmatory test
For the screening test, either blood is obtained from a finger or a vein, or a urine sample or oral swab is taken. The results can be obtained on the same day or may take a few days.
If the result of the screening test is positive, the results are again confirmed by a special test called a Western blot or indirect immunofluorescence assay test. The confirmatory test is necessary because the screening test is not considered to be very accurate.
The first step is usually a screening test that looks for antibodies against the HIV. Specimens for testing come from blood obtained from a vein or a finger stick, an oral swab, or a urine sample. Results can come back in minutes or can take several days, depending on the method that is used. If the screening HIV test is positive, the results are confirmed by a special test called a Western blot or indirect immunofluorescence assay test.
A Western blot detects antibodies to specific components of the virus. The confirmatory test is necessary because the screening test is less accurate and occasionally will be positive in those who do not have HIV.
If the confirmatory test results come back as positive, the person has a 99% likelihood of being infected with HIV.
Telling Sexual Partners About Hiv Status
Telling partners when you are in a relationshipMany people find it hard to tell a partner about their HIV status. While some people do react badly to news that their partner is HIV positive, others offer support. The views expressed here are of gay and Black African communities that we interviewed in 2005.
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Why Are Arvs Important
Starting and staying on ARVs is important because it reduces the amount of HIV in your blood to a very low level. This keeps you healthy and prevents illness. People living with HIV who take HIV medication daily as prescribed and maintain an undetectable viral load have a very low/ no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners.
What Should I Do Until Theres A Cure For Hiv
For now, the best thing to do for your health is to test regularly for HIV. Testing is the only way to know for sure if you have the virus.
If youve already tested and your result is positive, youll be advised to start antiretroviral treatment as soon as possible. Treatment is the only way to manage HIV and prevent it from damaging your immune system. It also reduces the risk of passing HIV on to your sexual partners. With treatment, people living with HIV can have long and healthy lives.
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What Do The Results Mean
A negative test result means that no signs of an HIV infection were found in your sample. But that doesn’t always mean that you don’t have HIV. You could have an HIV infection, but it’s too soon for the test to tell and you made need another test later. Your provider or an HIV counselor can explain your test result and let you know if you need another test.
In general, if you have a negative result on a rapid test or an at-home test and a possible HIV exposure that was:
- 90 days ago or longer, you can be confident that you don’t have HIV
- Less than 90 days ago, you will likely need another test later to check for HIV again
A positive test result means that signs of an HIV infection were found in your sample. You will need a follow-up test to confirm an HIV diagnosis unless you had a NAT test.
- If you used an at-home test, see your provider for follow-up testing.
- If you had your test at medical office or community program, the testing site will arrange your follow-up test.
If your follow-up test is also positive, it means you have HIV. It’s important to start medicines called antiretroviral therapy right away, even if you’re still healthy. ART can’t cure HIV, but it may lower the amount of virus in your blood so much that a test can’t find it. If you’re living with HIV, it’s important to see your provider regularly for tests to check how your treatment is working.
Learn more about laboratory tests, reference ranges, and understanding results.
If Youre Feeling Depressed
Its normal to feel as though youre not coping at times, to stop enjoying being with friends and family, or to feel sad or have trouble sleeping.
But if these feelings last a long time or you continue to feel overwhelmed by them, you may have depression.
Get help as soon as possible as you may need treatment.
Your HIV clinic, local mental health services or GP can all help you.
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Hiv Lymph Node Swelling
During the asymptomatic stage which lasts for years or even more than a decade, a person has no signs or symptoms of HIV infection. Therefore it is called the asymptomatic stage. However, this is not entirely accurate. There are some symptoms that may arise similar to the flu-like symptoms of the acute HIV infection stage. It may be just as vague and can disappear and reappear again.
The one important clinical sign during these years is persistent lymph node swelling. It affects lymph nodes at two or more sites and tends to last for 3 months or more. The node is large, measuring greater than 1 centimeter in diameter. Persistent lymph node swelling which is larger than 1 centimeter in diameter is not only seen in HIV infection. Therefore it is important to see a doctor for further diagnostic investigations.
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What Is It Used For
An HIV screening test is used to find out if you have been infected with HIV. It may be done as a routine test or after a possible exposure to find out if you were infected with HIV.
If HIV is found early, you can take medicines to protect your health so you don’t get AIDS. And medicines can help you avoid spreading HIV to others.
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Can Hiv/aids Be Prevented
You can reduce the risk of spreading HIV by
- Getting tested for HIV
- Choosing less risky sexual behaviors. This includes limiting the number of sexual partners you have and using latex condoms every time you have sex. If your or your partner is allergic to latex, you can use polyurethane condoms.
- Getting tested and treated for sexually transmitted diseases
- Not injecting drugs
- Talking to your health care provider about medicines to prevent HIV:
- PrEP is for people who dont already have HIV but are at very high risk of getting it. PrEP is daily medicine that can reduce this risk.
- PEP is for people who have possibly been exposed to HIV. It is only for emergency situations. PEP must be started within 72 hours after a possible exposure to HIV.
NIH: National Institutes of Health