When Should I Be Tested For Hiv
You can be exposed to HIV by having unprotected sex with an infected person, by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment, or from a needlestick injury. It can also be passed on from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and delivery. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, you should get a test. You can use the NZ AIDS Foundation’s Been exposed tool to find out the likely risk of a specific event or encounter and advice for what to do next.
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.
How To Get An Std Test
Getting tested for STDs is a simple process. Almost all mid-sized and large cities offer options for free or low-cost STD testing, with convenient online testing options also available for many common sexually transmitted diseases.
You can get tested by:
Talking to your healthcare provider. Your primary care provider will be able to provide testing for most STDs. Many health insurance policies either provide free STD testing or offer tests at a significantly reduced price.
Visiting your local urgent care center. Many urgent care centers offer testing for most STDs. You can search for free, fast and confidential testing locations in your area using the CDCs GetTested tool.
Visiting your local pharmacy. Many pharmacies can schedule testing for some STDs, or provide an at-home test that you can return to the pharmacy or mail directly to the lab for analysis.
Contacting Planned Parenthood. Many Planned Parenthood centers offer STD testing and treatment.
Using an at-home/online test. Several companies provide at-home STD tests that you can order online. Some tests provide instant results, while others may need to be mailed to a lab for analysis.
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Common Blood Tests And How Long It Takes To Get Results
Some of the more common blood tests a doctor may order include:
- Complete blood count .This test measures the presence of 10 cell types in the white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Examples of these results include hematocrit, hemoglobin, red blood cell count, and white blood cell count. CBC results are usually available to your doctor within 24 hours.
- Basic metabolic panel.This test measures common electrolytes in the blood as well as other compounds. Examples include calcium, glucose, sodium, potassium, carbon dioxide, chloride, blood urea nitrogen, and creatinine. You may be asked to fast for a certain period of time before having your blood drawn. These results are also typically sent to your doctor within 24 hours.
- Complete metabolic panel. This blood test measures all the factors mentioned in the test above as well as two protein tests, albumin and total protein, as well as four tests of liver function. These include ALP, ALT, AST, and bilirubin. A doctor may order this more comprehensive testing if they wish to understand more about your liver or kidney function. Theyll usually receive your results within one to three days.
- Lipid panel. Lipid panels measure the amount of cholesterol in the body. This includes high-density lipoprotein and low-density lipoprotein . Your doctor should receive results from the lab within 24 hours.
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If You Have A Negative Test Result Does That Mean That Your Partner Is Hiv
No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.
HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex. Therefore, taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner is infected.
Its important to be open with your partner and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partner may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they know theyre infected. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.
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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.
Hiv And Health Insurance Among Black People
Despite increased access to healthcare under the Affordable Care Act, 1 of every 9 Black people is without insurance. Black trans people, especially Black trans women, often experience hostility in health settings. Black transmasculine people are often excluded from HIV discourse despite testing positive at higher rates in comparison to the general population.
Poor community access to health insurance, provider hostility, and lack of provider knowledge about trans communities may increase a person’s likelihood of testing HIV-positive. Among Black MSM, the lack of insurance increases the risk of HIV by 2.5 times compared to those who have insurance.
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How Soon Can I Get Tested For Stds After Unprotected Sex
Lets say youve recently had unprotected sex and now youre worried that you may have picked up a sexually transmitted disease . With STD rates rising higher than ever before, this is a totally valid and legitimate concern. So what do you do? Getting tested would be a very smart decision, but you may be surprised to learn that you can actually test too early.
If you feel like you could have contracted an STD, your instinct may be to get tested immediately, but this can be a huge mistake. Testing too early can cause inaccurate results, possibly leading you to believe youre STD-free when youre really not. This is because each STD has its own unique incubation period, which you must out wait in order to get accurate results. Like many things in life, timing is everything.
What Is an STD Incubation Period?
An incubation period is the span of time from when you first come in contact with an STD to when antibodies form to fight the STD1). Tests look for the presence of these antibodies during testing2), and if you do not wait until the incubation period has ended, you may not allow your body sufficient time to develop enough antibodies for it to show up in testing, causing a false-negative result.
When Should I Get Tested for STDs?
How Soon Do STD Symptoms Appear?
Chlamydia Incubation Period
Gonorrhea Incubation Period
If you would like to test for gonorrhea, consider also testing for chlamydia as these two STDs frequently occur together. 4)
What About False Results
Some HIV tests have a very slight chance of giving you false results. A âfalse-positiveâ result means your test shows you have HIV when you donât. Tests may also give you a âfalse-negativeâ result. That means the test says you donât have HIV, but you do.
The rapid oral fluid test is more likely to give you a false-positive result than other tests. If you take a rapid oral test and get a positive result, the doctor will give you a blood test to confirm your diagnosis.
The HIV RNA or viral load test is not generally used to diagnose HIV. If you have this test done and get a positive result, the doctor may start you on HIV treatment, but you should always take an antibody test a few months later to confirm your diagnosis.
If you test positive: These tests are all screening tests for HIV. That means that if you take an HIV test and get a positive or even an unclear result, youâll need another blood test to confirm that you do or donât have the virus. The results of both tests together are more than 99% accurate. The tests used to confirm HIV infection are either the Western blot or indirect fluorescent antibody test. If your screening test went to a laboratory, they can do this additional testing on the same blood sample. But if you were tested in a community clinic or at home, youâll need to give an additional blood sample for follow-up.
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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.
Human Immunodeficiency Virus Testing
Several different tests are used to detect HIV, including lab testing, the rapid antibody screening test, the rapid antigen/antibody test and a self-test that uses oral fluid.
Lab testing requires blood to be drawn from your vein. Your blood is then analyzed in a lab to detect either the genetic material of the virus, or specific HIV antigens and antibodies.
It usually takes several days to receive the results from an HIV lab test.
If youre tested for HIV with a rapid antibody screening test, or with a rapid antigen/antibody test, your results will typically be ready in under 30 minutes.
If you test yourself for HIV using an oral fluid antibody self-test such as the OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test, youll receive results within 20 minutes.
Right now, there are no tests that can accurately detect HIV immediately after infection. If youre worried that you may have been exposed to HIV, its important to seek medical help immediately and, if possible, use post-exposure prophylaxis .
In order to undergo testing for HIV, youll need to wait for the window period to pass.
The window period varies depending on the type of HIV test:
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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.
Cost And Health Insurance
Most insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, will cover the cost in full as part of the Affordable Care Acts essential health benefits.
It is important to note that, while point-of-care tests are typically covered by insurance, at-home test kits may not be. Check with your insurance provider to better understand your benefits in this regard.
If you are uninsured, you can find low- to no-cost testing sites through the GetTested locator offered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
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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 prevent anal or vaginal tears. The right lubricants also help prevent condoms from breaking.
Only water-based lubricants should be used with condoms. 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 of contracting HIV, preventive medication is an option. Pre-exposure prophylaxis medication is a daily antiretroviral treatment.
Everyone at high risk of HIV should begin a PrEP regimen, according to a recommendation from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force.
Per the recommendation, sexually active people are considered at high risk of HIV if they have one of the following characteristics:
- in a sexual relationship with someone who is living with HIV
- inconsistent condom use during sex with a partner whose HIV status is not known and who may be at high risk
- having a sexually transmitted infection , such as syphilis or gonorrhea within the past 6 months
- for men, inconsistent condom use during anal sex
How Often Should I Get Tested
How often you should get tested depends on who you have sex with and what type of sex you have. Use the NZAF Testing frequency calculator for advice on how often you should be tested. If you are at higher risk of HIV, ask your healthcare provider whether preventative medicine is right for you. Read more about pre-exposure prophylaxis .
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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.
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.
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What Is Informed Consent
Informed consent means you have enough information to understand HIV testing, such as the options for testing, an understanding of how the tests are done, what the results mean and the impact of testing. This will help you make an informed decision about your health care. Read more about informed consent, and talk to your healthcare provider if you have any questions.
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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What Does A Positive Test Result Mean
If you receive an HIV-positive result, the healthcare worker will talk to you about what this means and what will happen next. For most people, receiving a positive diagnosis can be a shocking and emotional experience this is completely normal. The healthcare worker is there to support you and to answer any questions that you have.
Treatment means that HIV is now a manageable illness. Your healthcare provider can link you to support and treatment services, and any other health services that you need. Any questions that you have you can ask them its their job to help answer your worries. You will most likely be asked to schedule another appointment with them in the very near future. Its very important to keep appointments and use the support offered to you. You may also be offered screening tests for other sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia, gonorrhoea and syphilis.
Find out what questions to ask and what support is available to help you cope with the results on our Newly diagnosed page.
It has almost been eight months since I was diagnosed with HIV. I was confused, ashamed, I kept asking, How this could be?. Slowly but surely Im beginning to accept that HIV is going to be a part of me and I definitely have control over it.