Protecting Yourself And Others
Regardless of your test results you should always prevent the spread of STIs , HIV and Hepatitis B by:
- Using lubricated condoms for vaginal, or anal sex.
- Using non-lubricated condoms for oral sex on a man.
- Using a latex barrier also called a dental dam or dam for anal-oral sex or for oral sex on a woman.
- Using extra-strength condoms with extra lubricant for anal sex.
- Limiting your number of sex partners.
- Not sharing needles, syringes or drug using equipment.
- Not sharing sex toys
Should I Tell Anyone Else Of My Test Results
Yes. If you test positive for HIV infection, it is important that you tell your healthcare practitioners as well as all current and future sex partners and/or anyone with whom you share needles. Counseling services are often available from the clinic that performed the test or from your healthcare provider that will help you to inform the people who need to know.
How Long Does It Take For Someone To Get Hiv Test Results Back
The amount of time that it takes to get results from an HIV test can range from as little as 30 minutes to as much as a few weeks, according to AIDS Info. The quickest test is the rapid HIV antibody test, which checks for HIV antibodies in the blood, urine or fluids in the mouth, according to AIDS Info.
There are three different types of HIV tests which include the HIV antibody test, the HIV RNA test, and the Western blot test, according to AIDS Info. The HIV antibody test and HIV RNA test typically take a few days to a few weeks to get results. In the case of a positive result, these tests are followed up for a confirmation result using the Western blot test, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
An HIV antibody test should be conducted 2 to 8 weeks after possible exposure to the HIV virus for the most accurate results. This timing allows antibodies to grow to a measurable level in the body, according to Lifebeat. The HIV RNA test can detect the virus in as little as 9 to 11 days of exposure. However, this test is more expensive and less commonly used, according to Lifebeat.
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What Are The Different Types Of Hiv Testing
There are three main types of HIV tests: antibody tests, RNA tests, and a combination test that detects both antibodies and viral protein called p24 . All tests are designed to detect HIV-1, which is the type of HIV in the United States. Some antibody tests and the combination test can also detect HIV-2 infections, which are usually limited to West Africa. No test is perfect tests may be falsely positive or falsely negative or impossible to interpret .
Positive test results are reportable to the health department in all 50 states and include the patient’s name. This information is then reported to the CDC so that the epidemiology and infection spread rates can be monitored. The names sent to the state remain confidential and will not be reported to employers, family members, or other such people. Some states allow anonymous testing in which the patient’s name is not recorded.
HIV antibody tests: HIV possesses many unique proteins on its surface and inside the virus itself. When someone is infected with HIV, their body produces proteins designed to tag the virus for elimination by the immune system. These proteins are called antibodies, and they are directed against the unique proteins of HIV. Unfortunately, these HIV antibodies do not eliminate the virus, but their presence serves as a marker to show that someone is infected with HIV. HIV antibody tests are the most commonly used tests to determine if someone has HIV.
What Does The Test Measure
HIV tests detect the presence of the HIV virus, HIV antigens, and/or HIV antibodies. If these substances are detected, the test returns a positive result for HIV.
There are three types of HIV tests available:
- Antibody test: Antibodies are produced by the body after an HIV infection. It can take weeks for the body to produce antibodies, so HIV antibody tests can only detect HIV from 3 to 12 weeks after infection.
- Antigen/antibody test: Antigens are foreign substances that activate an immune response. Antigens appear before the body produces antibodies, so HIV antigen/antibody tests can detect an HIV infection earlier than antibody tests, within 2 to 4 weeks of becoming infected.
- HIV viral load test: An HIV viral load test looks for the quantity of HIV virus in the blood. In addition to detecting an HIV infection, viral load testing can also detect how much of the virus is in the blood. Although this type of testing can detect an HIV infection earlier than other HIV tests, its very expensive and is typically only used when someone has symptoms or a possible exposure to HIV.
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How It Is Done
The health professional drawing blood will:
- Wrap an elastic band around your upper arm to stop the flow of blood. This makes the veins below the band larger so it is easier to put a needle into the vein.
- Clean the needle site with alcohol.
- Put the needle into the vein. More than one needle stick may be needed.
- Attach a tube to the needle to fill it with blood.
- Remove the band from your arm when enough blood is collected.
- Apply a gauze pad or cotton ball over the needle site as the needle is removed.
- Apply pressure to the site and then a bandage.
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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.
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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.
What Information Does Someone Receive When Having An Hiv Test
Before and after the test, the care provider should give the person being tested appropriate written or verbal information or counselling about HIV and how it is transmitted.
Before an HIV test is given, people should receive appropriate information and/or counselling through a pre-test discussion.
During pre-test counselling the person is asked about their knowledge of HIV transmission and prevention and any sexual and/or drug use behaviours that may have put them at risk for HIV. The testing process may also be reviewed, particularly when point-of-care testing is being used and there is a possible need for confirmatory testing. Pre-test counselling may also include a discussion about testing for other sexually transmitted or blood-borne infections, such as chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and hepatitis C. It may also include a conversation about the persons post-test support needs .
For more information on post-test counselling procedures, please see provincial, territorial, and national HIV testing and screening guidelines.
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How Much Do Hiv Tests Cost
Unlike rapid tests, blood tests for HIV are covered by Medicare, which means your doctor can order the test free of charge for you.
If you are not eligible for Medicare, you may also be able to claim some of the testing costs through private health insurance. Check with your provider to see if youre eligible.
Comparing Different Testing Facilities
As you may or may not know, theres more than one way to get tested for STDs. Naturally then, where you choose to get tested can have a big effect on when youll get your test results back. Lets take a look at some of the options available to you, and what factors might add to your wait time:
Doctors Office: Obviously, you cant get tested for STDs at your doctors office without first setting up an appointment which could take days or weeks depending on your M.D.s schedule. Then, once youve finally settled on an appointment date, youll have to wait for your doctor to send your samples to a specialized lab. Thats because few doctors have access to sophisticated STD testing equipment at their base office. If speed is your priority, the doctors office isnt for you.
The Free Clinic: The free clinic is an attractive option for many people, because, obviously, its free. However, you will have to pay in other ways namely by spending lots of time in line. Because you cant schedule an appointment at the free clinic like you can at other testing facilities, it could be days before you find an entire afternoon to dedicate to standing in line to receive a test.
At-Home Tests: Sure, there are plenty of at-home STD tests that promise instant results, but heres the kicker: you should always get tested for STDs by a professional, and no at-home test can replicate the advanced tech required to diagnose certain STDs.
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Is Hiv Testing Confidential
If you test positive for HIV, your status becomes part of your private medical record and is protected by federal privacy laws. Your state may require your healthcare provider to report the infection to your state health department. State departments send results to the CDC without your personal identifiable information.
Some states have laws that require you or your healthcare provider to notify your partner of your HIV-positive status. In some states, if you dont report your status to your partner, you can be charged with a crime.
You can choose anonymous testing. Anonymous tests dont link the results to your information. The state health department still collects the statistics, but the results arent part of your medical record.
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.
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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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What Does A Positive Hiv Test Result Mean
If you have a positive HIV test result, a follow-up test will be conducted. If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you are HIV-positive.
If you had a rapid screening test, the testing site will arrange a follow-up test to make sure the screening test result was correct. If you used a self-testing kit at home, a positive HIV test result must always be confirmed by additional HIV testing performed in a health care setting. If your blood was tested in a lab, the lab will conduct a follow-up test on the same sample.
If your follow-up test result confirms you are infected with HIV, the next thing is to take steps to protect your health and prevent transmission to others. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy . ART is the use of HIV medicines to treat HIV infection. People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day. ART can keep you healthy for many years and greatly reduces your chance of transmitting HIV to your sex partner if taken the right way, every day. Your health care provider will help you decide what HIV medicines to take.
If you have health insurance, your insurer is required to cover some medicines used to treat HIV. If you dont have health insurance, or you need help because your insurance doesnt pay for the treatment you need, there are Federal resources that may help you.
To lower your risk of transmitting HIV,
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What Happens If The Tests Come Back As Positive
The primary concern for candidates with the MEPS blood test is if the results show that there is evidence of drug use. Illegal drugs or even alcohol use can eliminate recruits from the candidate pool on a permanent basis. Policies are always open for change and waivers may be available for certain individuals. If positive for marijuana or alcohol, the recruits must wait a minimum of 6 months for a retest. In certain branches of the military, approval for the retest must be given.
If a second test is positive for alcohol or marijuana, then a 24 month waiting period is mandatory for a third test to be approved. A battalion commander is required to provide authority for the second retest. If failure occurs after the third test, then an applicant is permanently disqualified.
Any other drugs require a minimum 1 year waiting period and command authority must give approval for a retest. If the retest results in a second failure, then a candidate is permanently disqualified.
What Does A Negative Result Mean
If your HIV test result comes back negative it means that the test hasnt found signs of HIV infection.
However, if you have been at risk since your last test then youll need to test again. Also remember that most HIV tests can only detect HIV one to three months after exposure. If you were at risk more recently than this you will need to test again to be sure that your results are accurate.
Using a condom is the best way to protect yourself from HIV.
Be aware that testing negative for HIV doesnt mean that your partners are HIV-negative. HIV tests only apply to the person who took the test. If any of your previous or current partners are worried about HIV, encourage them to take a test.
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Who Will Know The Results Of My Testing
It depends on where you get your testing. Testing sites have different privacy rules. Ask about privacy rules at your testing site so you understand whether anyone else will know you got tested or see your results.
If you go to an anonymous test site, only you know the results. No written record of the test result is kept.
If you go to a confidential test site, the results will go in your medical record. Positive results are sent to the state or local health department. Your insurance company will have access to your results. Depending on the state you live in, your parent or guardian may be contacted.