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 Hiv Test Results Mean
A negative result on an HIV test means that no infection was detected. However, accuracy depends on when you were last potentially exposed to HIV and the type of test you take. Antibody tests in particular may not be accurate until at least three months after exposure.
The time during which an HIV test result is not accurate is known as the window period. The window period varies depending on the type of HIV test and type of sample used .
Hiv Testing At Options Clinic Or At Other Anonymous Testing Clinics:
Options provides anonymous testing with results on the spot. This is called rapid point-of-care testing.;
- You dont need your health card.
- You dont have to give your real name. This is what anonymous means.
- A small amount of blood will be taken by pricking your finger the test is quick and convenient
- If the rapid point-of-care test shows a positive result, meaning that it detects HIV antibodies, the clinician at Options will take more blood to send off to a laboratory to confirm the result. It takes about two weeks for that result to come in.
What is the HIV antibody test?
The HIV antibody test checks your blood to see if your immune system has produced HIV antibodies. If antibodies are present, it means you have been infected with HIV.;Because HIV is a retrovirus, these antibodies are powerless in fighting off HIV, but their presence is enough to tell if you have HIV or not.
A positive test only tells you that you are living with HIV.;It does not tell you how much virus is in your body, when you were infected or whether or not youll get sick.
Getting tested for HIV relieves feelings of uncertainty and gives you a chance to learn about HIV and sexual risk reduction from a trained counselor.;If you test positive, getting tested is the first step in taking control so you can keep yourself healthy.;
If you’d like more information;about getting tested for HIV or to talk to someone who knows what it is like, contact a member of our Education team.
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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.
What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
Currently there are two ways to test for HIV. One of these is a standard laboratory test done using a blood sample taken from your arm. The result is available in 1 to 2 weeks.
The second type of HIV test is a called a point-of-care test using a drop of blood taken from your finger. The result is available at the time of testing. When a point-of-care test indicates that HIV antibodies may be present, a standard laboratory test is required to confirm HIV infection.
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What Happens After A Positive Hiv Diagnosis
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, you will likely be referred to a specialist for further testing and care. People who are looking for additional provider options for HIV care can find a national directory run by the CDC at findhivcare.hrsa.gov. Some primary care providers also offer HIV treatment.
After an HIV diagnosis, your doctor will likely perform several types of tests to see how and if HIV has affected your health. These tests include:
- Viral load: This test shows how much of the virus is in your blood.
- CD4 count: This test determines the health of your immune system. People with a CD4 count of less than 200 are considered to have advanced HIV infection. People with a CD4 count of 200â500 are considered immunosuppressed.
Any person confirmed to have HIV should be started on antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible to improve their outcome. These tests can also be used to determine whether any antiretroviral therapies are working and to monitor the progression of your HIV.
The goal of antiretroviral therapy is to help you reach an undetectable viral load, in which there is so little HIV in your blood that it cannot be detected on a nucleic acid test. People with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others.
When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if;you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier;it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.;
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Where Can People Find More Information About Hiv Testing
There are several resources for people interested about the facts of HIV testing.
- The national HIV, STD, and hepatitis testing site Get Tested helps visitors find free, fast, and confidential testing.
The CDC web site is also an excellent source of information: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html.
When To Be Tested Again
If you have a negative test within the window period from your last potentialexposure, you should be tested again after the window period has passed.
A positive result on an HIV test means that either HIV has been detected in your body or your body seems to be responding to an HIV infection. Depending on the type of test used, a positive result may be preliminary. Preliminary results require additional testing before it can be determined if you actually are infected with HIV.
Rapid test results are generally preliminary. HIV tests that are sent to a lab and initially come back positive may be confirmed by running an additional test before results are reported to you.
A positive HIV test result does not mean that you are immunocompromised. Understanding how and whether HIV has affected your overall health requires additional testing.
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Catie Resources For Service Providers
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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How Healthcare Providers Can Facilitate Hiv Screening
Healthcare providers should take an active approach to HIV screening, as earlier diagnosis and treatment leads to better health outcomes. Individuals with positive results should be linked to treatment and care. Those with negative results may benefit from counselling on risk reduction and prevention measures.
What Are Hiv And Aids
The human immunodeficiency virus is a virus that attacks the immune system. The immune system is the part of the body that fights infection and disease. There is no cure for HIV, but lifelong treatment with medications called highly active antiretroviral therapy means that you can live a long life with HIV.
Without treatment, HIV infection may become a serious disease called Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome . AIDS occurs when a persons immune system has been severely weakened by HIV. Having HIV does not mean that you have AIDS.
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Who Has Access To Hiv Test Results
In B.C., positive HIV test results are shared with public health, in a confidential manner, to ensure that you and your partner are offered support and follow-up. In the event of a positive result, if you do not wish your full name to be reported to public health, you may request that your first name, initials and birth date be used as your identifying information when your results are reported.
Some clinics allow you to test using a numbered code and give no contact information. This is called anonymous testing, and is currently being offered at a limited number of sites in B.C.
Laboratory test results are kept in the provincial laboratory database. Your HIV test results may also be stored in your electronic health record within your health authority. Health care providers who are providing you with care will be able to see portions of your health care record. How much a health care provider can see of your record depends on their role. Health care providers who are not providing you with care will not be able to access your record. You can place disclosure directives on your electronic health records that enable you to choose who will have access to them. For more information, visit;www.healthinfoprivacybc.ca/who-can-see-or-change-a-health-record/limiting-who-else-can-see-your-health-information.
What Happens If My Test Is Positive
If you test positive for HIV, it is important to remember that with treatment you can live a long, healthy life. In fact, with early treatment, people with HIV can live about as long as people that are not infected.
A team approach will help you get the medical care and support that you need. Start by talking to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site. He or she can help you with suggestions on how to talk to your parents or guardians and how to find a health care provider who’s an HIV specialist. By starting treatment as soon as possible, you can stay healthy and learn to live well with HIV.
Why It Is Done
A test for the human immunodeficiency virus is done to:
- Detect an HIV infection.
- Screen blood, blood products, and organ donors to prevent the spread of HIV.
- Screen pregnant women for HIV infection. Pregnant women who are infected with HIV and receive treatment are less likely to pass the infection on to their babies than are women who don’t receive treatment.
- Find out if a baby born to an HIV-positive woman also is infected with HIV. A test is often done in this case because the baby may get antibodies against HIV from the mother and yet not be infected.
This test is not done to find out if a person has AIDS. A diagnosis of AIDS means that a person is HIV-positive and other problems are present.
When You Should Take An Hiv Test
What testing service you should use, and which type of test, depends on when you might have been exposed to HIV. Signs of HIV infection dont show up in the blood right away. It normally happens within four weeks of infection, but can be longer.
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours , its possible to take post-exposure prophylaxis; to help stop an infection from happening.
If your risk was recent, then your test provider will probably advise you to take a test immediately, followed by a second one a few weeks later. The second test will pick up any infection the first one may have missed.
If your risk was in the last three months, make sure you tell the person testing you, as it may affect the type of test youre given.;
A self test;is not guaranteed to pick up an infection thats occurred in the previous three months. If you think youve been exposed in the last three months, you should get a test in person.
Very occasionally it can take up to three months for antibodies to appear in the blood, so an HIV negative result is only totally accurate if three months have passed between the test and the last time a risk was taken. However, a negative result four to eight weeks after taking a risk is a very good sign that HIV infection hasnt happened.
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Getting Tested For Hepatitis C:
The only way to know if you have Hep C is to have several blood tests done.
It takes;two;different tests to determine whether someone has Hepatitis C or not.
The first test is a screening test called the Hepatitis C antibody test.;A positive result indicates the person has been exposed to the hepatitis C virus at some point in their life
The second test is a confirmatory test. Hepatitis C RNA testing;checks for the actual virus in the body by measuring the genetic material of the virus in the blood.
This test is done after a person tests positive for Hepatitis C antibodies. If a person also tests positive for Hepatitis C RNA it means they have Hepatitis C. If the test is negative it means that they were one of the 25% that had the virus clear up on its own.
Genotype is the specific strain of the Hep C virus that you have. There are 6 different Genotypes. Your Genotype determines the type of treatment you will receive.
Other tests might be done to show how your liver is working.;These include: liver function tests, a fibroscan and an ultrasound.
When results are positive from the hepatitis C screening test, additional testing to measure Hepatitis C RNA is required. Hep C PCR testing is a measure of active virus detected in the blood. Depending upon the result, this test may be repeated after 3 months.
If you are concerned about Hepatitis C and would like to talk to someone before you decide to get tested, contact one of ourHep C team members in Client Services.
How Do Hiv Tests Work
There are two basic ways to get HIV test results:
Laboratory tests. For these tests, a technician will take a sample of your blood and test it. Youâll get results within a few days.
Rapid tests. These tests provide results in around 20 minutes. You can get them done in a community clinic or take them at home.
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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.