How Is Hiv Treated
Australians can live well with HIV. Treatments have changed over time, dramatically improving the quality and length of life for someone who is HIV positive.
It is also important to have a strong support network. Evidence suggests that involving others can improve your mental health and wellbeing and help you maintain treatment.
How Much Does The Test Cost
The cost of an HIV test is usually covered by insurance without a copay, although specific costs depend on a persons insurance coverage and where the test is performed. Check with your health plan and health care provider for specific cost details.
At-home HIV tests cost below $50. Health departments and community-based organizations may provide HIV self-test kits for free or at a reduced cost.
Should You Get Tested For Hiv If You Dont Think Youre At High Risk
Some people who test positive for HIV were not aware of their risk. That’s why CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and that people with certain risk factors should get tested more often .
Even if you are in a monogamous relationship , you should find out for sure whether you or your partner has HIV.
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How Can Someone Test For Other Stds At Home
People can test for other sexually transmitted diseases , such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, using home testing kits. These tests usually consist of taking a urine sample or a swab from the genital area and sending it to a lab facility for testing.
The test should be repeated if a person received negative results, but theyre experiencing STD symptoms.
Another option is to have a healthcare professional order another test to ensure that the results are accurate.
How Can I Get Hiv
HIV is found in body fluids, such as blood, semen, breast milk, and fluids from the vagina and anus. HIV can be passed on by:
- having vaginal or anal sex without using a condom
- having oral sex
- a mother with HIV can pass it to her baby during pregnancy, childbirth, or while breastfeeding
- exposure in the work environment
- sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
- receiving a blood transfusion
- unsterilized body art equipment like tattoo or piercing equipment
A person has significant amounts of the virus in their body when they first contract HIV, which increases the possibility of transmitting it to others. You can greatly reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to others by taking antiretroviral medications. These medications decrease the amount of HIV in the body, which reduces the chance of passing it on.
You can not get HIV through casual contact, such as sharing food or drinks, insect bites, hugging or kissing.
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How Soon Can I Take An Hiv Test
This question usually refers to how soon after exposure can someone test for HIV.
This used to involve waiting 3 to 4 weeks before taking an HIV test .
However, 2020 UK guidelines now recommend waiting 6 weeks.
This is because 4th generation HIV tests will detect 99% of infections at 6 weeks compared to 95% of infections 4 weeks after exposure.
A negative test after four weeks needs to be confirmed with a second test three months after the risk. This is to cover the small chance that you take longer than four weeks to generate an antibody response.
Extending this to 6 weeks means the confirmatory test is no longer needed.
In high risk exposures, especially if symptoms occur, viral load testing is sometimes used after one week. This includes after a sexual assault or after a needlestick injury to a healthcare worker.
In these cases a viral load test can exclude an infection when there are symptoms.
Viral load tests are not approved to diagnose HIV. A negative result still needs to be confirmed by an antibody test three months after the risk.
Figure 6: Recommended time from exposure to HIV test *
* This diagram needs to be updated to show the six-week window.
How Do I Know If I Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant tell if you have HIV just by the way you feel, because most people who get HIV dont have any symptoms for years.
Testing is a good idea if youve had unprotected sex or if your partner tests positive for HIV. You should also get tested if youve shared needles with anybody . If youre pregnant, get tested for HIV at your first prenatal visit.
Luckily, HIV testing is pretty easy and painless. The best part about getting tested for HIV? Once you get it over with, it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have HIV, its best to find out right away so you can take medicines to help you stay healthy and lower your chances of spreading HIV to others.
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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.
When Should You Get Tested For Hiv After Condomless Sex
Theres a window period between the time a person is first exposed to HIV and when it will show up on different types of HIV tests.
During this window period, a person may test HIV-negative even though theyve contracted HIV. The window period can last anywhere from ten days to three months, depending on your body and the type of test that youre taking.
A person can still transmit HIV to others during this period. In fact, transmission may even be more likely because there are higher levels of the virus in a persons body during the window period.
Here is a quick breakdown of different types of HIV tests and the window period for each.
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What Is A Hiv Pcr Test
The HIV PCR test is one the most accurate diagnostic tools in use to detect the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus in the blood, more commonly known as HIV. Aside from being considered more reliable in terms of accuracy than most other tests, the HIV PCR test is also one of the few screening procedures that can be used for early detection. Most people can get an accurate test reading three to four weeks after a suspected infection.
Unlike other tests, such as the P24 antigen test, the HIV PCR test does not rely on the presence of antigens or antibodies in the blood for diagnosis. Instead, it endeavors to identify certain genetic material by highlighting sequences of the virus within the subjects deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA. This is achieved via nucleic-acid amplification testing to observe the resulting polymerase chain reaction, hence the acronym PCR. In addition, the HIV PCR process is further divided into two sub-categories that determine viral load in a serum sample: RNA PCR and DNA PCR. The former is used to screen blood donations and the latter is used to detect HIV in infants born to mothers known to have the virus.
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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Informed Consent For Testing
In Ontario, there are two ways to get tested for HIV: nominal testing and anonymous testing. You must give informed consent before being tested, whether the test is done nominally or anonymously. Informed consent means that you:
- understand the procedures and the consequences of being tested, including Public Health reporting requirements
- receive pre-test and post-test counselling to prepare for the test and test result and,
- give your permission to be tested.
If someone tests you for HIV without your informed consent, you may want to get legal advice.
Testing Sites And Policies
HIV testing is offered at CDC-funded testing sites and in other public and private settings, including free-standing HIV counseling and testing centers, health departments, hospitals, private doctor offices, STD clinics, and mobile testing units.49 The overall positivity rate at CDC funded test sites was 0.9% in 2017, including testing among those newly and previously diagnosed. The positivity rate for new diagnoses was 0.4% but was substantially higher for certain sub-populations .50 Among CDC-funded testing sites, non-health care facilities have a higher rate of clients testing HIV-positive than do health care and correctional facilities.51
All states/territories have moved to HIV name reporting where a persons name is reported to the state if they test HIV positive. The state then reports the number of unique positive HIV tests to CDC . This is considered confidential HIV testing. There is also anonymous HIV testing offered at some testing sites where identifying information is not collected.
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How Can I Get Tested
To get tested, you can:
- Ask your doctor to test you.
- Go to a local clinic or community health center.
- Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
- Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Whats Next If The Test Is Positive
If a person gets a positive result, a qualified lab should retest the sample to make sure it was not inaccurate or have another sample tested. 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 to other people.
Its important to use condoms, dental dams, or other barrier methods with any and all sexual partners and refrain from sharing needles while waiting for test results or until the virus becomes undetectable in the blood.
Seeing a therapist or joining a support group, whether in person or online, can help cope with the emotions and health issues that come with an HIV diagnosis. Dealing with HIV can be stressful and difficult to discuss with even the closest 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.
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How An Hiv Test Works
An HIV test is a blood test. It does not detect HIV itself, but looks for a protein found in an HIV cell, or an antibody made by the body to fight HIV.
HIV tests in the UK are very reliable. They can occasionally produce a positive result which is then found to be negative when tested again. This is called a false positive and is rare, occurring in less than 1 in 1000 cases.
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.
Resources for FDA-approved laboratory tests, self-tests, and testing of self-collected samples are available. Learn more about testing in nonclinical settings and screening in clinical settings.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Hiv Testing
The world has come a long way from when the AIDS epidemic hit in the late 1980s. Researchers are working tirelessly to find treatments.
Unfortunately, many people still dont understand much about HIV. Because of this, legislation exists to protect people living with HIV and AIDS. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with HIV from discrimination. If you believe someone has discriminated against you because of your HIV status, you may wish to consult legal counsel.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Research has made significant progress in terms of what we know about HIV. But there is still more to learn. Until researchers find a vaccine, HIV will continue to infect people. If you or someone you love may be HIV positive, please seek help. Current treatments can help HIV-positive people live happy, productive lives.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/10/2016.
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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Reducing The Risk Of Hiv Transmission
The most effective way to prevent HIV transmission during sex is to use a condom. Get a condom ready before any sexual contact occurs, since HIV can be transmitted through pre-ejaculate, vaginal fluid, and from the anus.
Lubricants can also help reduce the risk of HIV transmission by helping to prevent anal or vaginal tears. The right lubricants also help prevent condoms from breaking. Only water-based lubricants should be used with condoms, because oil-based lube can weaken latex and sometimes cause condoms to break.
The use of a dental dam, a small plastic or latex sheet that prevents direct contact between the mouth and the vagina or anus during oral sex, is also effective at reducing the risk of HIV transmission.
For people who may have a higher risk for contracting HIV, preventive medication is an option. Pre-exposure prophylaxis medication is a daily antiretroviral treatment.
Everyone at increased risk of HIV should begin a PrEP regimen, according to a recent recommendation from the US Preventive Services Task Force. This includes anyone who is sexually active with more than one partner, or is in an ongoing relationship with someone whose HIV status is either positive or unknown.
Although PrEP does provide a high level of protection against HIV, its still best to use condoms as well. PrEP provides no protection against STIs other than HIV.
Importance Of Hiv Testing For Prevention Of Hiv Infection
People with HIV who are aware of their status can get HIV treatment and remain healthy for many years. Studies show that the sooner people start treatment after diagnosis, the more they benefit from ART. Treatment with ART reduces the amount of HIV in the blood , reduces HIV-related illness, and helps prevent transmission to others. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative sex partners.
People who get tested and learn they dont have HIV can also make decisions about sex, drug use, and health care that can protect them from HIV. For people at risk for HIV, taking HIV medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly effective for preventing HIV.
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