What Happens If The Test Is Positive
If you receive a positive result, you will want to work with your healthcare provider on a treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will determine how far HIV has progressed and recommend medicines to help you manage it.
You will also want to talk about your diagnosis with your sexual partner. If you and your partner have had unprotected sex, you could have transmitted the virus to them. They should get tested, too.
How Long Does An Std Blood Test Take
The soonest a test might have a reasonable chance of detecting an antibody response is two weeks. That;is only true for tests that look for a specific early type of antibody called IgM.
Many antibody tests look for IgG, which takes longer to develop. Furthermore, even an IgM test cannot be counted on to be accurate at such an early point after infection.
Within the first few months, there is a very high risk of false negative test results . This risk goes down over time. By six months after infection, most people will turn positive on an antibody test.
Because of this, antibody testing isn’t appropriate for people who are worried they may have been very recently exposed to HIV or herpes. If this is the case, talk to your healthcare provider about what type of testing may be right for you.
Once you get a test, the turnaround time for test results also varies. Some rapid STD tests can give results within an hour. Other STD results make take up to two weeks to come in. This varies both by what test is used and what facilities your healthcare provider’s office has.
Some healthcare provider need to send out blood and urine samples to be tested. Others can run the tests in-house. These factors can have a significant effect on STD test result time.
What Is Viral Suppression
Antiretroviral therapy keeps HIV from making copies of itself. When a person living with HIV begins an antiretroviral treatment regimen, their viral load drops. For almost everyone who starts taking their HIV medication daily as prescribed, viral load will drop to an undetectable level in six months or less. Continuing to take HIV medications as directed is imperative to stay undetectable.
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What Does A Negative Hiv Test Result Mean
A negative result doesn’t necessarily mean that you don’t have HIV. That’s because of the window periodthe time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it. The window period varies from person to person and is also different depending upon the type of HIV test.
Ask your health care provider about the window period for the kind of test youre taking. If youre using a home test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package. If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period for the test youre using to be sure. To learn more about the window period and when a person should get retested, see CDCs How soon after an exposure to HIV can an HIV test if I am infected?. If you get an HIV test within 3 months after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again in 3 more months to be sure.
If you learned you were HIV-negative the last time you were tested, you can only be sure youre still negative if you havent had a potential HIV exposure since your last test. If youre sexually active, continue to take actions to prevent HIV, like using condoms the right way every time you have sex and taking medicines to prevent HIV if youre at high risk.
Sexually Transmitted Infection Tests
Rapid testing is available for HIV tests, often at community health centers and clinics. According to Columbia University, these tests most commonly provide results in 10 to 20 minutes. Doctors also use blood tests to test for the presence of conditions such as herpes, hepatitis, and syphilis. These results may take up to one to two weeks.
Be aware that swabs and urine tests may be the preferred method for some STI testing. Results can also take longer if cultures need to be grown.
Some STIs dont show up immediately after theyre transmitted, so your doctor may order a follow-up test a certain period of time after a negative result.
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Types Of Hiv Tests And Their Window Periods
- Nucleic Acid Test A NAT can usually tell you if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure
- Antigen/Antibody TestAn antigen/antibody test performed by a laboratory on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV infection 18 to 45 days after exposure. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick take longer to detect HIV .
- Antibody TestAn antibody test can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV infection after an exposure. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
Ask your health care provider or test counselor about the window period for the test youre taking and whether you will need a follow-up test to confirm the results. If youre using a self-test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package.
If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period. Remember, you can only be sure you are HIV-negative if:.
- Your most recent test is after the window period
- You havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you do have an exposure, then you will need to be retested.
What Does The Hiv Test Involve
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that all people between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested at least once for HIV. People with known risk factors should be tested yearly, or more frequently.
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after transmission. How soon a test can detect HIV depends on what the test is looking forantibodies, antigens, or the virus itself.
HIV testing uses a blood draw, a finger stick, or an oral swab. The type of sample used depends on the test.
These three types of diagnostic tests are used to detect HIV:
Antibody and antigen/antibody tests are typically used first because they are less expensive and easier to administer. They may also detect signs of HIV sooner. A NAT test may be used to confirm a positive result on an antibody or antigen/antibody test, or if these tests are negative and there is a strong suspicion for new HIV infection.
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What Does The Test Result Mean
- A negative HIV test usually indicates that you do not have an HIV infection. However, if you are screened too soon, the result may be negative despite the fact that you are infected . If an HIV test is negative but recent exposure is suspected, then an HIV RNA test or repeat testing with the HIV antigen/antibody blood test may be required.
Also, a negative screening test means only that there is no evidence of disease at the time of the test. If you are at increased risk of HIV infection, it is important to have screening tests performed on a yearly basis to check for possible exposure to the virus.
- If you test positive on both the initial screen and supplemental testing, then you are diagnosed with HIV.
The CDC recommends the following testing protocol to screen for and diagnose HIV infection:
- Screen for HIV infection using a combination HIV antigen/antibody test, then
- Verify a positive with a second HIV antibody test that differentiates between HIV-1 and HIV-2.
- If results of the first and second test do not agree, then the next test to perform is an HIV-1 RNA test . If the HIV-1 RNA is positive, then the test is considered positive.
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.
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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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What Types Of Tests Diagnose Hiv
To diagnose HIV, healthcare providers can order any of three tests:
- Nucleic acid test: The NAT test looks for the virus in your blood. It is a thorough laboratory test but can be costly. The results can take several days to receive.
- Antigen/antibody test: This test looks for antibodies and antigens to HIV in your blood. Your immune system forms antibodies when it comes in contact with viruses, such as HIV. Antigens, however, are foreign substances that activate your immune system. HIV has a particular antigen that this test can find. This rapid test uses a drop of blood from a finger prick and can give you results in roughly 30 minutes.
- HIV antibody test: This test is similar to the antigen/antibody test, but it only looks for the antibody. Just like the antigen/antibody test, this test produces results in around 30 minutes. It uses either a drop of blood from a finger prick or a swab of saliva.
Some states allow for home testing. There are two types of home tests:
- Rapid self-test: The only rapid self-test available in the United States uses a saliva sample to check for infection. After you receive your kit, you swab your gums and use the test kit to get results.
- Mail-in self-test: This test uses a blood sample from a simple finger prick. All of the supplies are in the kit to help you take the sample, package it and send it to the lab. A healthcare provider will tell you the results.
Detecting Hiv: Seroconversion Time Is Important
When a person contracts the human immunodeficiency virus , timing can affect HIV test results. Although tests have become more accurate, none of them can detect an HIV infection immediately after its contracted.
The bodys defense mechanisms kick into action after contracting HIV. The immune system begins to develop antibodies to attack the virus. This production of HIV antibodies is called seroconversion. Before seroconversion, there may not be detectable levels of HIV antibodies in a persons blood.
Before seroconversion, an HIV blood test could produce a false negative result. A positive HIV antibody test will not appear until the body makes enough HIV antibodies to be detected.
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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.
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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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.
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.;
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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.
What Happens If The Result Is Positive
The process can vary across the country but, generally speaking, when a test reveals that the individual is;HIV positive, the post-test counselling is extensive . Typically, a provider gives a person time to absorb the results, discusses the impact of the positive test result, and provides the opportunity for the person to ask questions. Post-test counselling following a positive diagnosis usually includes support and extensive discussion and comprehensive linkage to other services, including HIV care.
If a rapid point-of-care test indicates a;reactive;result, the person is informed of the result and, after obtaining informed consent, the counsellor draws a blood sample, which is sent to a laboratory for confirmatory testing. The person is given post-test counselling immediately after receiving a reactive result and again when returning to pick up the result of the confirmatory test one to two weeks later.
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