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.
How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody test is recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. 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. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
How Long Can Hiv Go Undetected
In most parts of the world, being diagnosed with immunodeficiency virus or HIV is still considered a death sentence, but that is not really the case in developed countries. With the availability of new resources, it is now possible to manage HIV in a much better way. However, millions of people still do not have access to those resources and many of them die because of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , which is the last stage of the infection caused by HIV. Statistics have found that more than 11 million Americans, older than 13, had HIV at the end of 2014. The numbers are not accurate because many people never realize that they are infected. This makes people wonder how long HIV can go undetected.
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Infectious Load Of The Starting Material And Test Methods
Due to donor selection, testing of donations for HIV antibodies and HIV-1 genome , the probability of blood and blood products to be contaminated with HIV is very low, with an estimated residual risk of below 1 in 1 million . In addition, plasma for fractionation, which is obtained by plasmapheresis, is frequently stored for an inventory hold period of at least 60 days before further processing. If an HIV infection is confirmed in a donor, earlier samples are re-tested in the context of a look-back process, and infectious donations from donors in the seroconversion phase still in stock can be discarded. This voluntary measure further reduces the theoretical viral load of plasma pools for the production of plasma derivatives.
Order An At Home Hiv Test From Online Doctor
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, you can order an at home HIV test kit from LloydsPharmacy Online Doctor. We use a fifth-generation test that can detect HIV in your blood sample from 45 days although it may sometimes pick up the virus earlier than this.
To use our HIV test, youll need to order one through our secure online clinic, and be approved by one of our doctors. Well send you a kit with a finger prick device that lets you take a small blood sample. Post the sample back to us in a prepaid envelope and well provide results confidentially within three days.
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Donor Information And Counselling
Recommendations on how to inform a donor with positive HIV test results are given in the vote on look-back procedures of the Arbeitskreis Blut . HIV-infected donors should be informed in person and in writing by the blood establishment. HIV-infected donors should be counselled and referred to a general practitioner or a specialised centre for further care. The counselling should include information about the HIV transmission routes and the possibility of antiretroviral therapy . The information given should also include the fact that they are no longer suitable as a blood, plasma or organ donor in Germany.
In South Africa, the possibility of exceptions in cases of kidney transplantation to HIV-infected recipients is suggested .
Clarification of the possible origin of the donor’s infection is of epidemiologic interest. Efforts should be made in the donor interview to identify the route and the cause of infection, especially in order to prevent further transmission of the HIV infection. Such data are also required for the anonymous reporting of HIV diagnoses according to the German Transfusion Act and IfSG. A template provided by the Robert Koch Institute with a standardized questionnaire simplifies clarification and supports a nationwide standardised registration system of HIV transmission modes in the donor population.
Early Detection Of Hiv Is Key
The sooner someone with HIV is diagnosed and treated, the less chance there is of that individual transmitting the infection to someone else. Hence the importance of regular testing and early intervention. Better2Knows Early Detection Screen, which also includes testing for HIV, Hepatitis B & Hepatitis C, will detect an HIV infection just 10 days after any potential exposure to the virus. This is one of the many, comprehensive screens we have available in Africa, combining HIV testing with the detection of other, common STIs.
At Better2Know, we believe in the normalisation of HIV and STI testing. Our aim is to remove any associated stigmas and improve the health of our patients in Africa and around the world.
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Timing Of Virological Testing
Infants and children can be infected with HIV during pregnancy, during delivery and post partum through breastfeeding, or through sexual or parenteral exposure. Infants infected in utero usually have detectable HIV at birth and progress to disease more rapidly. Infants infected at or around delivery may take a short time to have detectable virus. Therefore, the sensitivity of NAT depends on time of acquiring infection and the timing of the test , and the sensitivity of all methods of virological testing are therefore lower at birth. In infants with in utero HIV infection, HIV DNA and RNA can be detected in venous blood specimens obtained within 48 hours of birth. However, in infants with peripartum acquisition of HIV, HIV DNA and RNA are not detected in early venous blood specimens but become detectable at or after 1 to 2 weeks of age . By six weeks of age, almost all infants infected prior to, at, or around birth can be identified by NAT or Us p24 Ag testing.
How Long Does Seroconversion Take
The timeframe between when a person contracts HIV and when tests can detect the infection is known as the window period. Everyones immune system is different. This makes it difficult to predict how long this stage will last.
Scientists have developed sensitive blood tests since the early days of the HIV epidemic. Its now possible to detect HIV antibodies, as well as other components of HIV, earlier than ever before. According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, most people test positive within a few weeks of contracting HIV. For others, it may take
During the window period, a person may develop symptoms similar to the flu or other common viruses that include:
- swollen lymph nodes
Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks. And they may range from mild to severe. But its possible to pass through the early infection stage without experiencing any symptoms at all. During this time, a person may not even realize that theyve contracted HIV.
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Which Test Can Give Me Results The Soonest
The period of time also differs, depending on which kind of test you take. The different types of tests include:
- Antibody tests, which look for the antibodies — special proteins that help fight infection — that your body makes in reaction to an HIV infection. Most rapid tests and at-home tests are these kind. Antibody tests require the longest wait time after infection to get an accurate result. For most people — around 97% — this takes anywhere from 2 to 12 weeks. For some, it can take as long as 6 months.
- Combination or fourth-generation tests, which look for both antibodies and antigens. Antigens are part of the virus itself. One antigen, p24, is detectable before your body starts making antibodies. These tests are becoming more common in the U.S. They can tell you if you have HIV a little sooner than an antibody test can.
- Nucleic acid tests , which can detect HIV in your body the soonest after infection. The test looks for the virus in your blood. You need a certain amount of the virus in your blood before the test will detect it. This is called your viral load. You can get a negative test if your viral load is still low. A NAT can tell you if you have HIV as early as 7 to 28 days after infection. It gives the quickest result, but itâs also the most expensive. Doctors donât typically use it unless youâre at a high risk of exposure to HIV.
Youâre more likely to have a NAT if you:
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
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What Are The Tests For Detecting Hiv
Various tests may be used for HIV detection:
- HIV antibody test: This test detects the antibodies produced in the body in response to HIV.
- Antigen test: This test can be done at an earlier stage than an HIV antibody test. It measures a protein called p24 antigen, present in the virus and produced in high amounts after the infection.
- Nucleic acid test : It is also called an RNA test. It is a very specific test that looks for the virus itself and can detect HIV as early as about 10 days of infections.
- In-home test kits: Although less accurate than the laboratory-based tests, home-based kits have the advantage of testing in the privacy and comfort of the home. Only FDA approved home-based kits should be used.
- Viral culture: This involves using the patients sample and growing the virus in the lab. It takes longer to get the results and is not the most preferred test for HIV.
What Is The Test Process
The test is very simple. It involves your fingerbeing pricked to obtain some blood. This small volume of blood is then placed on a test strip. The test takes 20 minutes to develop, during which time you may be asked to sit in the waiting room. You will then be called back by the doctor for the result.
The test will either show as being negative or reactive. If the test is negative, you will be provided with the result. If the test is reactive, you will be asked to provide a standard blood test for further analysis in a laboratory. The result of this test may take a few days to return.Please note: A reactive result does not necessarily mean that you are HIV positive. A small number of these may be false positives and will return as a negative test on standard testing in the laboratory.
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Interpretation Of Serological Test Results
Negative HIV serological testing in an infant, following nationally validated testing algorithms, suggests the following:
- The infant is not HIV-exposed or
- The infant is HIV-exposed but has seroreverted or
- If the infant has never been breastfed or not breastfed in the past 6 weeks, the infant is HIV uninfected.
If the infant is still breastfeeding, a negative HIV serological test result cannot exclude HIV infection.
Positive or reactive HIV serological testing in an infant suggests the following:
- The infant is HIV-exposed and /or
- The infant may be HIV-infected the older the infant, the more likely the infant is of being HIV-infected.
For the purposes of testing in children in relation to breastfeeding, the window period required before serological testing can be reliably interpreted after cessation of breastfeeding using rapid tests or EIA is recommended to be 6 weeks. Isolated case reports of false-negative rapid HIV tests in sick children who then go on to being HIV-infected need to be investigated.
Hiv Testing Outside Of A Health Care Setting Or Lab
If you are tested outside of a health care setting or lab you will likely receive a rapid HIV test
- If the test comes back negative, and you havent had a possible exposure during the previous 3 months, you can be confident you dont have HIV.
- If your test result is positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. Counselors providing the test should be able to answer questions and provide referrals for follow-up testing as well. You can use the HIV.gov locator to find a provider near you.
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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.
When And Who Should Get Tested
The CDC recommends that anyone between ages 13 and 64 should have them tested for the infection. It is important to undergo a repeat test if you have changed your sexual partner. In most cases, you should have your HIV test after 3 months of engaging in sexual activity with a new partner. Some people are at high risk for contracting the virus this is true for IV drug users, homosexual males, and those who change sex partners often. For them, it is important to go for HIV testing every 6-12 months.
Your body may have enough antibodies after 3 months of becoming infected some people may have those antibodies within 20 days of becoming infected. Therefore, it is a good idea to go for testing every six months, especially if you have had unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a different partner during this time. To get tested, you can go to your local health department, doctor’s office, or hospital. Nowadays, special sites are set up to help you with HIV testing these testing sites keep your data private and share it only with medical experts authorized to see your record.
Risk of HIV
It is worth mentioning that certain factors put you at an increased risk of becoming infected. For instance, you are likely to contract the HIV virus if:
You should talk to your healthcare provider to get more information regarding how long can HIV go undetected and how often you should go for HIV testing.
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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.