What Is Hiv Testing
HIV testing determines if a person is infected with HIV. The human immunodeficiency virus is the virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . AIDS is the most advanced stage of HIV infection.
HIV testing can detect HIV infection, but it cannot tell how long a person has had HIV or if the person has AIDS.
Why Should Someone Get Tested For Hiv
If someone is infected with HIV, it’s important to know because:
- Starting medicines right away can keep a person stay healthy for a long time.
- There are ways to stop the spread of HIV to others, such as using a condom and taking medicines.
- A pregnant woman who is infected can get treatment to try to prevent passing HIV to her baby.
Another reason to get tested is peace of mind: A negative test result can be a big relief for someone who is worried about being infected.
How The Test Is Performed
The test requires the user to swab their gums to collect an oral fluid sample and use the materials in the kit to test the sample. The user must follow the test manufacturer’s instructions, which comes with the kit, to ensure an accurate test. A phone number is also included with the HIV self-test for anyone to call to get help with conducting the test. OraQuick’s website also has a step-by-step video to guide users through the test.
Users should not eat, drink, or use oral care products before starting the test. They should put the test stick they swabbed their gums with into the test tube provided by the kit. Wait 20 minutes, and one line will appear on the test stick if you are negative. If two lines appear, that means HIV antibodies have been detected.
Its important to take a follow-up test at a medical office to confirm the results.
OraQuick is an antibody test, and it takes 23 to 90 days after an exposure for antibody tests to detect HIV.
The expected performance of the test is 92% test sensitivity, according to the OraQuick package. The FDA explains that this equates to one false-negative result out of every 12 test results in people who are HIV-positive. Clinical studies have found that OraQuick produces one false-positive out of every 5,000 tests. This is why its important to take another test at a medical office to confirm the diagnosis.
Autoimmune diseases like lupus may interfere with the results, and may incorrectly produce a false-positive.
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What Support Is Available
If you receive an HIV diagnosis, you can find help. Your healthcare provider can recommend support groups and counselors.
If someone tells you they are HIV-positive, they are telling you because they trust you. The time right after diagnosis can be very tough. You can support them in many ways:
- Be a friend. While they may not be ready to talk about their diagnosis right away, show them you care by treating them as you did before.
- Listen. Your friend may just need someone to listen to their concerns and fears. Be there for them.
- Learn about the disease. The reference section of this article has additional information to learn about the condition.
- Encourage them to seek treatment. Your friend may not realize they have options available. They do, and they can get treatment. Help them find it and stick to it.
- Get help for yourself. While it will be a challenging time for your friend, you may need some support too. Talk to others a counselor, for example about any concerns or anxieties you may have.
How Well Does Pep Work
PEP is effective in preventing HIV infection when its taken correctly, but its not 100% effective. The sooner you start PEP after a possible HIV exposure, the better.
While taking PEP, its important to use other HIV prevention methods, such as using condoms the right way, every time you have sex and using only new, sterile needles and works when injecting drugs
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What Does This Mean For Me
For most people, the best time to test is 3 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner. If the test is negative, there is a good chance you do not have HIV from that sexual contact.
If you test at 6 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner, and that test is negative, there is a 99% chance you do not have HIV from that sexual exposure.
With any HIV test, you should test again at 3 months to be sure.
Because HIV and other sexually transmitted infection rates are high in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, routine screening every 3 months is recommended.
When To Take A Rapid Hiv Test
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , everyone between 13 and 64 years old should be tested for HIV at least once in their life. People who have sex without condoms, have multiple sexual partners, or share drug equipment are at higher risk for HIV and should be tested more frequently, whether through regular or rapid testing.
If you think youve been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours, contact your healthcare provider or medical professional about post-exposure prophylaxis, which is medication that can prevent HIV after a possible exposure.
After someone has been infected with the virus it can take about two weeks for HIV antigen to be detectable with current antigen tests, and more than three weeks to produce enough HIV antibodies to be detected by antibody tests. In a very small number of people, the process takes up to several months.
There are different window periods for different types of tests:
- Antigen and antibody tests take blood from a vein, and can detect HIV between 18 and 45 days after exposure
- Antigen and antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick can detect HIV between 18 and 90 days after exposure
- Antibody tests can take 23 to 90 days after an exposure to detect HIV. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid
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What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
There are three types of tests used to diagnose HIV infection: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests . Your health care provider can determine the appropriate HIV test for you. How soon each test can detect HIV infection differs, because each test has a different window period. The window period is the time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can accurately detect HIV infection.
- Antibody tests check for HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid. HIV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HIV infection. Most rapid tests and home use tests are antibody tests.
- Antigen/antibody tests can detect both HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in the blood.
- NATs look for HIV in the blood.
A persons initial HIV test will usually be either an antibody test or an antigen/antibody test. NATs are very expensive and not routinely used for HIV screening unless the person had a high-risk exposure or a possible exposure with early symptoms of HIV infection.
When an HIV test is positive, a follow-up test will be conducted. Sometimes people will need to visit a health care provider to take a follow-up test. Other times, the follow-up test may be performed in a lab using the same blood sample that was provided for the first test. A positive follow-up test confirms that a person has HIV.
Talk to your health care provider about your HIV risk factors and the best type of HIV test for you.
Preventing The Spread Of Hiv
People who suspect they have been exposed to HIV should still exercise caution to avoid HIV transmission during the window period.
They can do so in several ways:
- Use a condom during sex
- Reduce your number of sexual partners
- Consider using pre-exposure prophylaxis , a daily medication that reduces your partners’ chances of getting HIV
- Get tested for other STDs and ask your partners to do the same
- Don’t share drug needles with others
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Std Testing Doesn’t Replace Discussion
People often wonder whether they have to tell current/future partners that they might have been exposed to an STD. Whether the question is modified by “What if we only had oral sex?” or “What if it didn’t last long?” the answer is usually the same. These are discussions that everybody should be having before they have sex.
Most people don’t come to sexual relationships completely inexperienced. Therefore, talks about testing and safe sex aren’t just appropriate but smart.
Still, sometimes the discussion can be difficult. That’s why it’s always a good idea to practice safe sex, particularly until you’re reasonably certain of your test results.
Condoms may not be perfect, but latex types still offer protection against STDs.
There Is Some Suggestion That Omicron Is Taking An Especially Long Time To Show Up On Lfts What Does This Mean For How People Should Interpret Lfts
Petersen says there are two probable reasons for this. First, its likely that vaccinated people or those with immunity from prior infection have symptoms even before they become infectious, as these are immune responses. Second, it is possible though uncertain that transmission with Omicron occurs at lower viral loads. If the latter is the case, it is important that people start to isolate as soon as they have any symptoms that suggest they may have Covid, even if the LFT is negative, she says.
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How Long Do I Need To Wait Before I Test
Thereâs a window period between exposure to HIV and a positive test because it takes time for your body to either build a response to the infection or for the virus to replicate enough for a test to detect it. HIV window periods can vary.
For example, if you have unprotected sex on a Friday night, and get an HIV test Monday morning, the test wonât be able to detect HIV or an immune response to HIV yet. There hasnât been enough time for a positive result, even if the virus is in your body.
To get the earliest, most accurate result, first consider when you were exposed and whether youâre showing symptoms.
- If you know exactly when you may have come into contact with the virus, take a test 3 months after that date. Tests 3 months after exposure should be 99% accurate.
- If you are having symptoms of HIV, see your doctor right away. Your doctor may want to use a test that can look for the virus directly in your body.
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.
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Clinical Indications For Hiv Testing
Individuals requesting an HIV test.
Individuals with symptoms and signs of HIV infection.
Individuals with illnesses associated with a weakened immune system or a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or use of shared drug equipment with a partner whose HIV status is known to be positive.
Pregnant or planning a pregnancy and their partners as appropriate.
Victims of sexual assault.
Why Do I Need An Hiv Test
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. You may also need an HIV test if you are at higher risk for infection. HIV is mainly spread through sexual contact and blood, so you may be at a higher risk for HIV if you:
- Are a man that has had sex with another man
- Have had sex with an HIV-infected partner
- Have had multiple sex partners
- Have injected drugs, such as heroin, or shared drug needles with someone else
HIV can spread from mother to child during birth and through breast milk, so if you are pregnant your doctor may order an HIV test. There are medicines you can take during pregnancy and delivery to greatly reduce your risk of spreading the disease to your baby.
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How Does The Seven
This original guidance reflects the low rate of reinfection during this window, meaning false positives could force people to unnecessarily self-isolate. However, complete data is not yet available for Omicron reinfection rates, so it could change.
Matthews says the new guidance does not negate the earlier advice. Instead, What they are saying now is that if you are LFT-negative on two days then you are very likely no longer contagious and can go to work.
Hiv Treatment & Undetectable
Todays HIV treatments, called antiretroviral therapy or ART, are extremely effective. Some treatments are a single tablet. Long-acting injectable medications are likely to be approved and available soon. Medicine has come a long way since the first HIV treatment options became available in the 1990s.
There is still no functional cure for HIV, but ART can help people live long, healthy lives. Todays medications are provided in combinations that reduce a persons viral load to levels so low its undetectable. People who become undetectable cannot transmit the virus to others.
Viral load is a term that describes how much virus a person living with HIV has in their body.
Without HIV medications, the virus replicates which causes the amount of virus in the body to increase.
HIV medications prevent HIV from making copies of itself. Then, the amount of HIV in the body goes down.
To see how well HIV treatments are working, doctors and other providers measure the amount of virus in the blood and report a measurement called your viral load. Its simply a measurement of how many copies of the virus are in a single unit of blood.
A very low amount of virus may even be undetectable by viral load tests . A common undetectable level is < 20 copies per milliliter of blood. Low viral loads are those that are less than 200 copies per milliliter. Very high viral loads can be over 500,000 copies per milliliter.
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Recommendations For Hiv Testing
The purpose of this chapter is to make recommendations on who should be tested for HIV, and at what interval. The chapter also presents recommendations for increasing opportunities to offer HIV testing by integrating HIV testing with testing services for related infections and explores other possible occasions that evidence suggests may be effective in identifying undiagnosed cases. Additional provider and client resources, other HIV testing guidelines, and guidelines for HIV testing in specific contexts are provided in Chapter Five.
When To Get Tested For Hiv
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV, its best to speak to a healthcare professional immediately.
Even if you dont think you have been at risk, testing regularly is good practice for people who are having sex. Its important to test for HIV during pregnancy. If you know your status, you can avoid passing the virus on to your baby. A window period is the amount of time it takes after infection for a test to give you an accurate result. Its good to know about window periods, but dont delay getting tested if you think you might have been exposed to HIV.
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What Should I Do If My Test Is Negative
If your test result is negative, youll probably breathe a big sigh of relief. But dont let down your guard. Its important to protect yourself in the future. Talk to your healthcare provider about whether PrEP is right for you. The PrEP daily pill can reduce your risk of getting HIV from sexual contact by 99%. For IV drug users, it lowers the risk by 74%. PrEP is very important if you are HIV negative and in a stable monogamous relationship with HIV positive partner.
Even if you take PrEP, its still smart to practice safer sex. Always use a condom to reduce your risk of getting HIV and other STDs.
Introduction And Guiding Principles
A request was made by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on AIDS for the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop guidelines on HIV testing that reflect the realities facing care providers and their clients, as well as advances in HIV testing policy and practice. To inform the development of this guide, the Agency commissioned a literature review and consultations with key stakeholders, including people living with HIV/AIDS and other affected populations, academics, nurses, physicians, professional associations, non-governmental organizations, policy-makers, community workers, and legal and ethical experts. As a result, the recommendations outlined in the guide are based on the most up-to-date evidence and expert opinion.
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