How Soon Can I Take An Hiv Test
This question usually refers to how soon after exposure can someone test for HIV.
This used to involve waiting 3 to 4 weeks before taking an HIV test .
However, 2020 UK guidelines now recommend waiting 6 weeks.
This is because 4th generation HIV tests will detect 99% of infections at 6 weeks compared to 95% of infections 4 weeks after exposure.
A negative test after four weeks needs to be confirmed with a second test three months after the risk. This is to cover the small chance that you take longer than four weeks to generate an antibody response.
Extending this to 6 weeks means the confirmatory test is no longer needed.
In high risk exposures, especially if symptoms occur, viral load testing is sometimes used after one week. This includes after a sexual assault or after a needlestick injury to a healthcare worker.
In these cases a viral load test can exclude an infection when there are symptoms.
Viral load tests are not approved to diagnose HIV. A negative result still needs to be confirmed by an antibody test three months after the risk.
Figure 6: Recommended time from exposure to HIV test *
* This diagram needs to be updated to show the six-week window.
Different Types Of Hiv Tests
- Standard laboratory blood tests are very accurate and provide results within a few days.
- Finger-stick blood tests provide results in 20 minutes or less.
- Oral swab tests do not require giving blood and provide results in 20 minutes.
- Self test kits are available for purchase they use an oral swab and allow you to test yourself in private.
The time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can tell for sure whether they have HIV is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and depends on the type of test used to detect HIV.
Recent HIV infections can result in symptoms that may seem similar to cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, rash and sore throat. If you are experiencing these symptoms after a possible HIV exposure, be sure to tell your health care provider you are concerned you have an HIV infection, not just a cold or flu.
What Happens If I Test Positive For Hiv
If your initial test is positive for HIV antibodies, then additional testing is required to confirm that the first one was accurate. Sometimes this involves a second blood test.
When you are first diagnosed you will probably experience strong emotions. During this time, do not try to cope on your own. Seek support by speaking with your doctor, or contact your local community organisation. They have trained peer workers available to help you through the initial stages of a positive diagnosis, but also through your journey of living well with HIV.
Part of testing best practice includes pre- and post-test counselling. Post-test counselling is important, regardless of the outcome. If you test positive, counselling can provide emotional support, further information about living with HIV, and referrals to support services.
If the test is negative, counselling can provide education about HIV and how to reduce your HIV risk in the future. are community organisations that provide support and advocacy for people with HIV. Peer workers are also available to help you navigate living with HIV.
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, visit Next Steps for more information.
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Why Its Important To Test
If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to become seriously ill. People who are diagnosed early and get on effective treatment can expect to live a normal lifespan.
Once youre on effective treatment and your viral load is undetectable then you can’t pass the virus on to anyone else.
If you wait to test, the virus could do a lot of damage. There is a lot of support available for people who test positive.
Getting Your Hiv Test Results
Most HIV test results are available within a week.
If the test result is negative, you may receive your results within a few days.
If the initial test result is positive, then additional testing to confirm the result needs to be performed in a reference laboratory and this can take up to a week to get a result.
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How Often Do You Need To Get Tested For Hiv
How often you should get tested depends on your personal practices, risk behaviours, and how often you engage in them.
For most people, it is important to have a full sexual health test at least once each year. This testing includes:
Even if you always use condoms, it is recommended you get tested annually as condoms dont provide 100% protection against HIV and STIs.
What Is Hiv Testing
HIV testing, also called HIV screening, is the only way to know if you have the virus.
Several types of tests check your blood or other body fluids to see whether you’re infected. Most can’t spot HIV right away, because it takes time for your body to make antibodies or for enough of the virus to grow inside you.
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When Should You Get Tested For Hiv After Condomless Sex
Keep in mind, if you believe youve been exposed to HIV, its important to see a healthcare professional as soon as possible.
Theres no HIV test that can accurately detect HIV in the body immediately after exposure. Theres a time frame known as the window period before you can be tested for HIV and receive accurate results.
Regardless of the type of test you take after a potential HIV exposure, you should get tested again after the window period has passed to be certain.
People at higher risk of contracting HIV should get regularly tested as often as every 3 months.
Should You Consider Preventive Medication
How quickly a person is able to see a healthcare professional after exposure to HIV can significantly affect their chances of contracting the virus.
If you believe youve been exposed to HIV, or have a high risk of being exposed to HIV, visit a healthcare professional within 72 hours. You may be offered an antiretroviral treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis , which can reduce your risk of contracting HIV. PEP is typically taken once or twice daily for 28 days.
PEP has little or no effect if taken more than
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Reducing Hiv Risks From Chemsex And Drug Use
Some people use drugs such as ice , GHB, ecstasy , ketamine and cocaine) to enhance their sexual experiences . Chemsex can make you lose your inhibitions and be risky if you:
- Inject drugs.
- Forget to take your HIV medications.
- Are taking PreP it can be less effective if it is mixed with other drugs.
Can You Test Positive For Hiv And Not Have It
A positive ELISA result does not mean that the person is HIV-positive. False-positive results are often received by a small percentage of people. This means the result indicates the person has the virus even if they do not have it. In this case, the test may pick up other antibodies in the immune system.
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What Does A Reactive Test Result Mean
A reactive test result is a possible positive result, but means that you will need to go back to test again to confirm this. The healthcare worker will talk you through everything you need to know and help you with any worries that you may have.
You will need to give blood sample, which will then be sent to the lab for testing. At this stage, it’s very important to follow the advice of the healthcare professional.
What Is An Hiv Test
An HIV test shows whether you are infected with HIV . HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against disease-causing germs, such as bacteria and viruses. If you lose too many immune cells, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and other diseases.
There are three main types of HIV tests:
- Antibody Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies in your blood or saliva. Your immune system makes antibodies when you are exposed to bacteria or viruses, like HIV. An HIV antibody test can determine if you have HIV from 312 weeks after infection. That’s because it can take a few weeks or longer for your immune system to make antibodies to HIV. You may be able to do an HIV antibody test in the privacy of your home. Ask your health care provider about at-home HIV test kits.
- HIV Antibody/Antigen Test. This test looks for HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood. An antigen is a part of a virus that triggers an immune response. If you’ve been exposed to HIV, antigens will show up in your blood before HIV antibodies are made. This test can usually find HIV within 26 weeks of infection. The HIV antibody/antigen test is one of the most common types of HIV tests.
- HIV Viral Load. This test measures the amount of the HIV virus in the blood. It can find HIV faster than antibody and antibody/antigen tests, but it is very expensive. It is mostly used for monitoring HIV infections.
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Can Hiv Detected After 2 Weeks
A lab must be used for the study. Tests like this can detect antibodies and levels of the p24 antigen within two weeks of exposure, which is why they are so popular. It is generally expected that the majority of people will produce enough antibodies and antigens for these tests to detect HIV within two to six weeks of exposure.
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.
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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
How Soon After Exposure To Hiv Can An Hiv Test Detect If You Are Infected
No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after infection. If you think youve been exposed to HIV, in the last 72 hours, talk to your health care provider about post-exposure prophylaxis , right away.
The time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and also depends upon the type of HIV test.
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Can Hiv Be Detected In 14 Days
HIV-1/HIV-2 antigen/antibody screening tests can typically detect HIV as early as 14 days after infection with laboratory-based HIV-1/HIV-2 tests. In other words, if you were exposed to HIV in the 14 days before the test was done, the antigen/antibody test may not detect that infection, so you may wish to have a repeat test.
Hiv Testing And Your Rights
Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.
Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.
Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.
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Where Can I Get An Hiv Test In Sheffield
Sexual Health Sheffield offers a free and confidential HIV testing service at all of our clinic locations.
You can also access testing at your local GP surgery or at the Walk-in Centre or by appointment at the Department of Infectious Disease and Tropical Medicine, E Floor, Royal Hallamshire Hospital Call 0114 271 3560 to make an appointment.
Screening For Hiv In Pregnancy
If you’re pregnant, you’ll be offered a blood test to check if you have HIV as part of routine antenatal screening.
If untreated, HIV can be passed to your baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding. Treatment in pregnancy greatly reduces the risk of passing HIV on to the baby.
Page last reviewed: 22 April 2021 Next review due: 22 April 2024
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Where Can People Find Free Hiv Testing Locations
The CDC maintains a list of HIV testing locations for people who want to find out whether they have contracted the virus. This National HIV and STD Testing Resource can be accessed at . This site includes the ability to search for free testing locations as well as locations that provide rapid tests. Some clinics only provide HIV testing. However, sexually transmitted diseases clinics routinely provide HIV testing along with testing for diseases like chlamydia, gonorrhea, syphilis, and herpes.
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.
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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.
How Soon Can Hiv Be Detected By A Blood Test
The window period refers to the time between when a person is first exposed to HIV and when it will show up on different types of HIV tests.
The window period can last anywhere from 10 days to 3 months, depending on your bodys immune response and the type of test that youre taking.
During the window period, a person may test HIV-negative even though theyve contracted HIV.
A person can still transmit HIV to others during this period. In fact, transmission may even be more likely because there are higher levels of the virus in a persons body during the window period.
Here is a quick breakdown of different types of HIV tests and the window period for each.
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How Long Does Hiv Take To Test Positive
In the event that PEP has been taken for a period of time, most modern HIV tests can detect HIV within four weeks of exposure. It depends on the type of test you are offered and when your risk was, as well as the type of test you were offered, whether you will be asked to return for more tests and a follow-up.
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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Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home HIV tests are a convenient way to take an HIV test in a private location. Testing for HIV at home is a form of HIV screening that requires additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home HIV tests can be obtained online, at a pharmacy, or at health departments and community-based organizations.