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
What Happens After An Hiv Test And Getting The Results
- If your result is negative, you can stop worrying but its good to keep testing regularly.
- If your result is positive or , you will need to give a blood sample to have your results confirmed.
- Remember that HIV is now a manageable illness if you do test positive you can start treatment which will keep you healthy.
is often the hardest step to take, but it is usually not as bad as you imagine.
Are Home Hiv Tests Accurate
Home tests are an accurate way to test for HIV. However, they may take longer to detect the virus after exposure than tests performed at a doctors office.
HIV antibody levels in saliva are lower than HIV antibody levels in the blood.
The at-home test is an antibody-only test. It does not test for HIV antigen, which is typically included in a fourth-generation HIV test done at a hospital or doctors office. Tests for HIV antibody and antigen can detect infection sooner.
Simply stated, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test may not detect HIV as quickly as a blood test would.
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To Facilitate Hiv Testing Healthcare Providers Can:
- normalise the offer of HIV testing, making it part of routine care
- assure protection of the persons anonymity and confidentiality
- offer an environment that is free of stigma and discrimination
- emphasize the benefits of early diagnosis and treatment
- provide information on risk factors for HIV infection, and prevention methods
- discuss testing options, including POC testing and self-testing
- when taking a sexual health history, keep it brief and relevant, as detailed risk assessments can deter people from seeking care
HIV self-testing and POC testing can facilitate uptake of screening. In addition, HIV self-testing provides an option for people who face barriers to accessing testing in healthcare settings.
Hiv Testing Types And Lab Technologies
This chapter provides information regarding available testing technologies, approaches to testing and interpretation of results. There are many different types of HIV screening tests that are licensed for use in Canada and can vary by jurisdiction. For questions or information specific to your province or territory please contact your local Public Health laboratory.
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What Are Hiv And Aids
The human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that attacks the immune system. The immune system is the part of the body that fights infection and disease. There is no cure for HIV, but lifelong treatment with medications called highly active antiretroviral therapy means that you can live a long life with HIV.
Without treatment, HIV infection may become a serious disease called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . AIDS occurs when a persons immune system has been severely weakened by HIV. Having HIV does not mean that you have AIDS.
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.
Pregnant women should get tested because early treatment means you probably wonât pass it to your baby.
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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.
What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you don’t have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but it’s too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to see your health care provider regularly.
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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.
Planning For Hiv Testing
Providing extended counselling, while preferred, may act as a barrier to testing for both the care provider and the testing client. The considerable resources and time required to conduct extensive risk assessments and pre- and post-test counselling have limited the ability of care providers to offer HIV testing. Behaviour-based risk assessments may also deter individuals from accessing testing, as such practices may involve revealing sensitive personal information. Both providers and clients may feel uncomfortable discussing such topics and, consequently, may avoid testing. The result is “missed opportunities” to diagnose those unaware of their HIV infection and link them with the treatment, care and support they need.
Providing sufficient information and supportive resources in conjunction with HIV testing does not necessarily require expertise in counselling or therapy. The level of support required in any given testing situation is highly dependent on the type of test and the testing client. While some clients may require comprehensive counselling, others may only need an abbreviated discussion supplemented with information resources such as brochures or websites.
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How Long Does An Hiv Test Take
How long does it take to get results from an HIV test?
Waiting for test results can certainly be stressful â and while the past few decades of research on human immunodeficiency virus and acquired immune deficiency syndrome have made great advances in testing technology, it’s tough to give an exact estimate of how long it takes to get test results. There are many factors to consider, including: the type of HIV test completed, how long it takes for a particular community health center or lab to analyze and report the test result to the patient, and how long someone has waited to get tested after an exposure . Also, sometimes the results must go through a health care provider first, who will then relay them to the patient, which can take more time. The good news is that many testing options are fairly quick. While the most rigorous lab-based tests can take several days to produce a result, some rapid tests can take as little as 20 minutes.
In general, the turn around time for HIV testing depends on the type of testing performed. These tests include:
- NAT: 10 to 33 days after exposure
- Laboratory antigen/antibody test: 18 to 45 days after exposure
- Rapid antigen/antibody test and antibody self-test: 18 to 90 days after exposure
Hereâs hoping you didnât have to wait long to get results from this response!
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.
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Window Periods Of Rapid Tests
The window period refers to the time after infection and before seroconversion, during which markers of infection are still absent or too scarce to be detectable. Tests cannot reliably detect HIV infection until after the window period has passed. All tests have a window period, which varies from test to test.
Delaney and colleagues estimated window periods for a handful of rapid tests in a 2017 study. However, all these estimates were based on testing blood plasma. In practice, tests are usually done on fingerprick blood and the window period is likely to be several days longer.
The fourth-generation Determine HIV-1/2 Ag/Ab Combo was estimated to have a median window period of 19 days . This indicates that half of all infections would be detected between 15 and 25 days after exposure. Ninety-nine per cent of HIV-infected individuals would be detectable within 43 days of exposure.
The third-generation INSTI HIV-1/HIV-2 test was estimated to have a median window period of 26 days . This indicates that half of all infections would be detected between 22 and 31 days after exposure. Ninety-nine per cent of HIV-infected individuals would be detectable within 50 days of exposure.
Basic information on testing
How Do Hiv Tests Work And What’s Involved
- There are plenty of places which offer free HIV testing you can find your nearest provider either by searching online or asking a healthcare professional.
- Testing for HIV is a simple and pain-free process. It involves giving a small sample of blood or oral fluid.
- Your results will be confidential and the healthcare provider will be able to explain the process and answer any questions you have. They are there to help you.
- HIV tests are very reliable. Some HIV tests will give a result within 20 minutes and others are sent to a lab so it may take a few weeks to get your results.
It is really common to feel a little worried about going for an HIV test, but making the decision to test is the best thing you can do for your health. The process is quick, painless, confidential and almost always free.
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Where Can I Get An Hiv Test
Depending on where you are in the world, there are a number of places that you can get tested for HIV. The best first step is to search online for “HIV testing, plus your location. This will generally give you a good idea of where to go, or at least give you a starting point.
If you have limited internet access, its always worth asking local sexual health charities or health professionals what is available in your area. They should be able to direct you to somewhere where you can test for free. The image below has some examples of the types of places that might offer HIV testing.
What Is An Hiv Test
If you have been exposed to HIV, one kind of HIV test can detect proteins made in your body called antibodies, but this will not detect a very recent infection. Another test can detect genetic material from the HIV virus before these antibodies develop, which indicates an acute infection. When either of these are detected, the HIV test result is reactive or positive, indicating the presence of the HIV virus.
Ninety nine percent of people who have been exposed to HIV will develop detectable levels of antibodies within 6 weeks. In very rare circumstances, it can take up to 3 months to develop antibodies to HIV following infection.
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What Happens During An Hiv Test
You will either get a blood test in a lab, or do your own test at home.
For a blood test in a lab:
- A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
For at home test, you will need to get a sample of saliva from your mouth or a drop of blood from your fingertip.
- The test kit will provide instructions on how to get your sample, package it, and send it to a lab.
- For a saliva test, you will use special spatula-like tool to take a swab from your mouth.
- For a fingertip antibody blood test, you will use a special tool to prick your finger and collect a sample of blood.
For more information on at-home testing, talk to your health care provider.
Terms And Technologies Used In Hiv Testing
This section provides detailed definitions and descriptions of the terms and technologies used in HIV testing.
Algorithms for HIV testing have been developed to ensure optimal sensitivity while preserving specificity by confirming reactive results as antibody-positive. The test sequence starts with the most sensitive screening test to identify all those with antibodies. A confirmatory assay is then performed only on the samples that tested reactive/positive on the initial screening test. This ensures that the screen test reaction is due to detection of HIV antibodies rather than a non-specific reaction. In the case of indeterminate or inconclusive results, additional supplementary testing may be necessary to determine if someone is infected with HIV. Each laboratory develops and validates its own algorithm to ensure that it provides the most accurate results possible. The positive predictive value and negative predictive value of a validated algorithm are close to 100%.
A typical laboratory testing algorithm follows:
Figure 3: Laboratory Testing Algorithm
A typical laboratory testing algorithm starts by screening with an enzyme immune assay test. If the EIA is non-reactive, then no HIV infection is present and no further testing is done.
If the initial EIA is reactive, then the EIA test should be repeated two additional times. If neither of the additional EIA tests is reactive, then the test is considered non-reactive, with no evidence of HIV infection.
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Other Factors Influencing Hiv Transmission Risk
Within each route of transmission, estimates of the risk of transmission vary widely, likely due to the role of behavioural and biological co-factors. Viral load appears to be an important predictor of transmission, regardless of route of transmission. However, the evidence indicates that viral load is not the only determinant, and other co-factors, such as the presence of co-infections, play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk of transmission.
The strongest predictor of sexual transmission of HIV is plasma viral load . A dose-response relationship has been observed, where each ten-fold increase in plasma VL resulted in an increased relative risk of transmission of 2.5 to 2.9 per sexual contact. The concentration of HIV in genital secretions also plays a major role in sexual transmission. While there is a strong correlation between HIV concentrations in plasma and in genital secretions, some studies have found genital tract HIV shedding in 20% to 30% of men and women without detectable plasma viral load. Much of what is known about the impact of viral load on the sexual transmission of HIV is derived from studies of heterosexual populations. Very little is known about the relationship between HIV viral load and rate of transmission through anal intercourse.
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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