Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes.;Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
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.
What Is Hiv Testing
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.
Read Also: How Long Does Hiv Live On Surfaces
How Can I Get An Hiv Test
You can get a referral for an HIV test through your primary care provider, at a walk-in clinic, or by visiting one of the clinics listed in the SmartSexResource clinic finder:
You can also access HIV testing directly at certain lab location in B.C. For more information, visit GetCheckedOnline:
Im Pregnant When Should I Test
Testing for HIV during your pregnancy is very important. Left undiagnosed and untreated women living with HIV can pass the virus on to their unborn babies. In most countries, HIV tests are a routine part of the care women receive during pregnancy . Partners of pregnant women should also get tested during this time.
The earlier you test in your pregnancy the better. You’ll usually be tested in your first appointment, ideally before your tenth week. These tests should be repeated, either every three months or at least once again in your third trimester. ;
Your doctor will tell you everything you need to know about HIV testing alongside the other blood tests they do during pregnancy.
If you find out you are positive, youll be given treatment to prevent passing HIV on to your child. The earlier you start treatment, the greater the chance your child will be born HIV-negative. Check out our section on Pregnancy, childbirth & breastfeeding for more information.
How Can I Prevent Hiv
One way to prevent HIV is by using pre-exposure prophylaxis . PrEP is a daily pill for individuals who do not currently have HIV but are at very high risk of getting HIV to prevent HIV infection. PrEP is one of the best ways to prevent being infected with HIV. Truvada is the prescription medication for PrEP.
PrEP may be a good option for you if:
- You’re in an active and ongoing sexual relationship with a partner living with HIV who does not have an undetectable viral load.
- You’re a gay or bisexual man with multiple sexual partners, and you don’t always use condoms or protection.
- You’re a gay or bisexual man in a sexual relationship but not yet aware of your partner’s HIV status and don’t always use condoms.
- You’re not using condoms with partners of the opposite sex whose HIV status is unknown and who are at high risk of HIV infection
- You have sex for money or receive gifts for sex.
- You’ve shared injecting equipment or have been in a treatment program for injecting drug use.
Other methods for preventing HIV include:
- Using condoms. Male latex condoms are the most effective way to prevent HIV and STIs when you are having sex.
- Getting tested. Ensure that you and your partner are tested for HIV and other STIs.
- Being monogamous.
- Limiting your number of sexual partners.
How Much Time Does It Take To Get Hiv Test Results
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
Ask U.S. doctors your own question and get educational, text answers â it’s anonymous and free!
HealthTap doctors are based in the U.S., board certified, and available by text or video.
You May Like: What Is Hiv 1 Antibody
Where Can I Go For Hiv Testing
You can get tested for HIV and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. You might want to get your HIV test at a place that also has HIV counseling .
You can either get an anonymous” or “confidential HIV test, depending on the laws in the state that you live in. Confidential” testing means your name is on the test, and the results go in your medical records. Your doctors and insurance company may also see the results. If you test positive, your results are sent to your local health department so they know the rates of HIV in your area. But your results are protected by privacy laws, so nobody else can see them without your permission.
“Anonymous” testing means your name isnt on the test. Youll get an ID number that youll use to find out your results. Your results wont go in your medical records, and they wont be sent to your insurance company or the health department youre the only one who will know them.
STD testing, including HIV testing, isnt usually automatically part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it directly. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out what tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: your doctor is there to help, not to judge.
Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test at many places:
- Your health care providers office
- Health clinics or community health centers
- STD or sexual health clinics
- Your local health department
- Substance abuse prevention or treatment programs
Many pharmacies and some community-based organizations also offer HIV testing.
HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a co-pay, as required by the Affordable Care Act. If you do not have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests.
These places can connect you to HIV care and treatment if you test positive or can discuss the best HIV prevention options for you if you test negative.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
You May Like: How Can I Tell I Have Hiv
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.
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.
Read Also: How Long Can Hiv Lay Dormant
What If My Hiv Test Is Negative
If your standard laboratory or point-of-care HIV blood test is negative and it has been more than 3 months since you may have been exposed to HIV, then it means that you likely do not have HIV. If it has been less than 3 months since you may have been exposed, you may still have HIV, but it is too early for the test to detect the antibodies. You will need to have a second test after the 3 months have passed to be sure.
How Can Someone Test For Other Stds At Home
People can test for other sexually transmitted diseases , such as gonorrhea and chlamydia, using home testing kits. These tests usually consist of taking a urine sample or a swab from the genital area and sending it to a lab facility for testing.
The test should be repeated if a person received negative results, but theyre experiencing STD symptoms.
Another option is to have a healthcare professional order another test to ensure that the results are accurate.
Also Check: How To Test For Hiv At Home
Whats Next If The Test Is Negative
If a person gets a negative test result and its been more than 3 months since they may have been exposed, they can be fairly certain that they do not have HIV.
If its been less than 3 months since exposure, they should consider taking another HIV test at the end of the 3-month period to be sure. During that time, its best that they use condoms during sex and avoid sharing needles.
How An Hiv Test Works
An HIV test is a blood test. It does not detect HIV itself, but looks for a protein found in an HIV cell, or an antibody made by the body to fight HIV.
HIV tests in the UK are very reliable. They can occasionally produce a positive result which is then found to be negative when tested again. This is called a false positive and is rare, occurring in less than 1;in 1000 cases.
You May Like: What Causes Hiv To Turn Into Aids
How Can Testing Help You
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.
Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.
- If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV . People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed can live long and healthy lives. Theres also an important prevention benefit. If you take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
- If you test negative, you have more prevention tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before.
- If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you’re HIV-positive. If an HIV-positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low.
How Can I Get Tested For Hiv
You can get an HIV test at a doctor’s office or clinic or you can test yourself at home. There are different types of HIV tests. Some use a sample of your blood and some use saliva .
How long does it take to get the test results?
It depends on the type of HIV test you get.
- Lab tests take from a few days to 2 weeks to give results.
- Rapid tests give results in 30 minutes or less.
- Home test results can be ready in 20 minutes or by the next business day.
If you test positive, you’ll need a second HIV test to be sure.;Find out more about the different types of HIV tests.
Whats the difference between confidential and anonymous testing?
When you get tested at a doctors office or clinic, your test results are;confidential. This means they can only be shared with people allowed to see your medical records.
If you’re worried about giving your name, you can get an;anonymous;HIV test at some clinics. This means that you dont have to give your;name.;Learn more about confidential and anonymous HIV testing.
Don’t Miss: When Was The First Case Of Hiv
Where To Find A Free Hiv Test
Ready to get tested? Many kinds of places might offer free HIV tests in your area. University health centers, hospitals, local health departments, and even churches offer free testing. You might have to keep an eye out for ads, search the internet, and call around to figure it out.
Here are some shortcuts worth exploring:
Use the CDC search tool. Go to gettested.cdc.gov and enter your ZIP code. After you click, check the box for âFree HIV Testâ under the drop-down menu on the next page to find a free or low-cost test in your area.
Contact the AIDS Healthcare Foundation . This nonprofit organization offers free HIV testing at many locations around the U.S. and in Puerto Rico. Visit locations.hivcare.org to find the closest option.
Many Planned Parenthood locations offer free or low-cost HIV testing. Call 800-230-PLAN or visit plannedparenthood.org/health-center to find one near you.
That’s National Free HIV Testing Day. On this day, many sites across the country offer free tests. Check npin.cdc.gov/nhtd.
Pick up a free at-home test: A nonprofit called Greater Than AIDS partners with Walgreens and OraSure Technologies to distribute 10,000 OraQuick in-home HIV tests to community partners. Visit greaterthan.org/free-hiv-self-test to find out where to get a free self-test.
AIDS Healthcare Foundation : âHIV Testing.â
CDC: âGetTested,â National HIV Testing Day,â âPEP: Post-Exposure Prophylaxis,â âTypes of HIV Tests.â
A Word About Window Periods
The window period refers to the time it takes for HIV to show up in an HIV test. The length of the window period will depend on the type of test you take.
If you feel like you may be at risk of HIV, do not wait, speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. The most important thing is to test.;
If you test negative but think you may have been exposed to HIV more recently, you can take another test once the window period has passed.;
The picture below shows the window periods for different HIV tests. Some tests can give you an accurate result within four weeks, while others can take three months to be accurate .
A healthcare worker will be able to explain how long the window period is for the test you are taking, and will tell you if they think youll need to test for HIV again.
Recommended Reading: How Can Hiv Be Cured
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 Is Aids Different Than Hiv
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome. They are not the same thing, and a person with HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. HIV is transmitted from person to person. Once infected, over time, HIV will destroy an important kind of cell in a person’s immune system that helps protect them from infections.;
When a person doesn’t have enough CD4 cells, their body cannot off infections the way it normally can. Once the immune system is damaged from HIV, it’s possible to develop AIDS. If you get dangerous infections or have a deficient CD4 cell, you will most likely develop AIDS. AIDS is the most serious stage of HIV, and it would lead to death overtime.
Don’t Miss: Does Hiv Cause Hair Loss
Home Testing Kit For Hiv Test
If you suspect of having HIV but are afraid of revealing its presence then you can opt for the most confidential way of testing, that is, home testing kit. For home use, two types of test are performed. The first type is the home collection kit during which a person has to prick his finger for collecting a blood sample. The sample is send to the lab for testing. You can obtain the results in few days. If the test results positive then the individual has to go with all follow-up evaluations.
You can also opt for the other type of home-testing solution that tests a tube and stick. A test stick is used to swab the gums to collect a sample of oral liquids. ;For getting adequate results, the test stick is inserted into the tube and then the results are revealed in just 20 minutes. In case the test is positive then it must be confirmed again by doing additional tests for the infection.
In both situations, one needs to visit the laboratory for availing the HIV test results by an expert and experienced health practitioner.
Can HIV Testing be Confidential!
Besides confidential testing, you can also go for Anonymous testing procedure, where you do not have to provide your name, and you can straight away go for an HIV test. While getting the analysis done, you are provided with a number and your results are explained as per that number. In this case, the number acts as your identity and all your medical records and results are stored and shared based on the provided number.