How Can I Get Tested
To get tested, you can:
- Ask your doctor to test you.
- Go to a local clinic or community health center.
- Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
- Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Testing Outside Of The United States
Rapid tests that have been approved for HIV home testing outside of the United States include:
- Atomo HIV Self Test. This test is available in Australia and has been approved by the Therapeutic Goods Administration , the countrys regulatory agency. It tests for HIV in 15 minutes.
- autotest VIH. This test is only available in certain parts of Europe. It tests for HIV in 15 to 20 minutes.
- BioSure HIV Self Test. This test is only available in certain parts of Europe. It tests for HIV in about 15 minutes.
- INSTI HIV Self Test. This test launched in the Netherlands in 2017 and can be purchased everywhere except the United States and Canada. It promises results within 60 seconds.
- Simplitude ByMe HIV Test. This test launched in July 2020 and is available in the United Kingdom and Germany. It tests for HIV in 15 minutes.
These particular tests all rely on a blood sample taken from the fingertip.
None of them have been FDA approved for use in the United States. However, the autotest VIH, BioSure, INSTI, and Simplitude ByMe kits all have CE marking.
If a product has CE marking, it complies with the safety, health, and environmental standards set forth by the European Economic Area .
How Soon After Risky Sex Can You Be 100% Sure You Are Clear Of Hiv
There is no single correct answer to this question. One recommended strategy is to get tested 2-4 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after a risky exposure. Using a sensitive antigen/antibody HIV test, of those who are infected, most will test positive at 1 month almost all will test positive at 3 months and the rest will test positive at 6 months. If you have any symptoms that may be caused be acute HIV infection, you should be retested immediately, with an HIV viral load test included. Newer and more sensitive HIV tests make it more and more likely that HIV will be detected at earlier time points.
If you have been taking PrEP, tell your provider that when you are getting tested because PrEP may affect the ability of the HIV tests to detect early HIV infection.
Remember, if you have had risky sex, you may want to start PEP to prevent HIV infection. You should start this as soon as possible after the possible exposure to HIV, and ideally within 72 hours of the exposurecall your VA provider or go to an emergency room or urgent care clinic.
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Hiv Transmission In Australia
In Australia, HIV is commonly transmitted through:
- Unprotected anal or vaginal sex .
- Sharing any needles, syringes, or other injecting equipment.
- From mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth, or breastfeeding This can occur when the mother doesnt know she is HIV-positive, or is not on effective treatment.
- Tattooing or other procedures that involve unsterile or reused equipment.
- Needle stick injuries.
HIV is not transmitted by:
- kissing, hugging, massaging, mutual masturbation and other body contact
- social interaction
- sharing food, dishes, utensils, drinking glasses
- air, breath, or being coughed or sneezed on
- mosquito, insect or animal bites
- use of communal facilities .
It is perfectly safe to consume food and drinks prepared by someone who is HIV-positive even if theyre not receiving treatment.
People with HIV who are on treatment and achieve and maintain an undetectable HIV viral load cannot transmit HIV sexually.
Importance Of Hiv Testing For Prevention Of Hiv Infection
People with HIV who know their status can get HIV treatment and remain healthy for many years. Studies show that the sooner people start HIV treatment after diagnosis, the more they benefit. HIV treatment reduces the amount of HIV in the blood , reduces HIV-related illness, and prevents transmission to others. People with HIV who take HIV treatment as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load will not transmit HIV to their sex partners.
People who get tested and learn they dont have HIV can make decisions about sex, drug use, and health care that can help prevent prevent HIV. Taking HIV medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly effective for preventing HIV.
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Where Can I Learn More About Hiv Testing
You can come to Womens Healthcare of Princeton for HIV testing and other healthcare needs. Dr. Sophocles, Dr. Mathews, and our team of providers can answer your questions about HIV testing and help you decide whether to be tested.
Were dedicated to providing quality health care in a compassionate and nurturing environment. To make an appointment, call our office or click the book online button.
How Long Do I Need To Wait After Exposure To Hiv Before I Can Test
It takes a bit of time for HIV to show up in an HIV test â this is called the window period. The length of the window period will depend on the type of test you take. For some tests it is up to three months and for other tests it is one month.
Read more about window periods in the âIn detailâ tab.
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Introduction And Guiding Principles
A request was made by the Federal/Provincial/Territorial Committee on AIDS for the Public Health Agency of Canada to develop guidelines on HIV testing that reflect the realities facing care providers and their clients, as well as advances in HIV testing policy and practice. To inform the development of this guide, the Agency commissioned a literature review and consultations with key stakeholders, including people living with HIV/AIDS and other affected populations, academics, nurses, physicians, professional associations, non-governmental organizations, policy-makers, community workers, and legal and ethical experts. As a result, the recommendations outlined in the guide are based on the most up-to-date evidence and expert opinion.
What Kind Of Hiv Tests Are There
Rapid HIV tests give you results in about 20 minutes. Other tests take longer because they need to be sent out to a lab. HIV tests are usually painless you just gently rub the inside of your cheek with a soft swab. Sometimes youll give a blood sample for testing.
You can test yourself for HIV using an at-home HIV testing kit. With the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, you swab your gums and test the sample yourself. You get results in 20 minutes. With the Home Access HIV-1 Test, you prick your finger to get a small amount of blood. You mail your blood sample to a lab, and get your results in about a week. At-home tests are totally anonymous you’re the only person who will know the results. And both types of tests help connect you with counselors who can give you support and advice about treatment if you test positive.
If a rapid HIV test at a clinic or a home test shows that you have HIV, get a follow-up test to make sure the results are correct.
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What Does This Mean For Me
For most people, the best time to test is 3 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner. If the test is negative, there is a good chance you do not have HIV from that sexual contact.
If you test at 6 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner, and that test is negative, there is a 99% chance you do not have HIV from that sexual exposure.
With any HIV test, you should test again at 3 months to be sure.
Because HIV and other sexually transmitted infection rates are high in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, routine screening every 3 months is recommended.
Clinical Indications For Hiv Testing
Individuals requesting an HIV test.
Individuals with symptoms and signs of HIV infection.
Individuals with illnesses associated with a weakened immune system or a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or use of shared drug equipment with a partner whose HIV status is known to be positive.
Pregnant or planning a pregnancy and their partners as appropriate.
Victims of sexual assault.
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The Risk Of Hiv Transmission Is Higher With Condomless Sex
HIV can be transmitted via the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina, and anus. It can also potentially be transmitted through cuts or sores on the mouth or other areas of the body.
Condoms and dental dams provide a physical barrier that can help prevent HIV transmission. When people engage in sex without condoms, they dont have that layer of protection.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that condoms are highly effective at preventing HIV transmission as long as you use them every time you have sex. Latex condoms offer the most protection against transmission of HIV. If youre allergic to latex, the CDC says that polyurethane or polyisoprene condoms also reduce the risk of HIV transmission, but they break more easily than latex.
Is Hiv Test Accurate After 3 Weeks
This type of test measures antibodies to HIV. The body can take up to three months to produce these antibodies. Most people will have enough antibodies to test positive within three to 12 weeks after contracting HIV. At 12 weeks, or three months, 97 percent of people have enough antibodies for an accurate test result.
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What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you donât have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but itâs too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, itâs important to see your health care provider regularly.
What Else Do I Need To Know About Hiv Testing
The world has come a long way from when the AIDS epidemic hit in the late 1980s. Researchers are working tirelessly to find treatments.
Unfortunately, many people still dont understand much about HIV. Because of this, legislation exists to protect people living with HIV and AIDS. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with HIV from discrimination. If you believe someone has discriminated against you because of your HIV status, you may wish to consult legal counsel.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Research has made significant progress in terms of what we know about HIV. But there is still more to learn. Until researchers find a vaccine, HIV will continue to infect people. If you or someone you love may be HIV positive, please seek help. Current treatments can help HIV-positive people live happy, productive lives.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/10/2016.
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Terms And Technologies Used In Hiv Testing
This section provides detailed definitions and descriptions of the terms and technologies used in HIV testing.
Algorithms for HIV testing have been developed to ensure optimal sensitivity while preserving specificity by confirming reactive results as antibody-positive. The test sequence starts with the most sensitive screening test to identify all those with antibodies. A confirmatory assay is then performed only on the samples that tested reactive/positive on the initial screening test. This ensures that the screen test reaction is due to detection of HIV antibodies rather than a non-specific reaction. In the case of indeterminate or inconclusive results, additional supplementary testing may be necessary to determine if someone is infected with HIV. Each laboratory develops and validates its own algorithm to ensure that it provides the most accurate results possible. The positive predictive value and negative predictive value of a validated algorithm are close to 100%.
A typical laboratory testing algorithm follows:
Figure 3: Laboratory Testing Algorithm
A typical laboratory testing algorithm starts by screening with an enzyme immune assay test. If the EIA is non-reactive, then no HIV infection is present and no further testing is done.
If the initial EIA is reactive, then the EIA test should be repeated two additional times. If neither of the additional EIA tests is reactive, then the test is considered non-reactive, with no evidence of HIV infection.
Who Should Be Tested For Hiv
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested at least once as part of your routine health care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, if youre at higher risk of HIV infection, you should be tested more often. We can advise you on how often to be tested.
You should be tested for HIV right away if you are sexually assaulted because immediate treatment can prevent HIV infection.
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Test Window And Accuracy
If you get a negative result, it’s important to remember that the test may not detect HIV up to three months after infection. You can only be sure you are truly HIV-negative if your most recent test was after the window period and you havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you have had a potential exposure, you will need to be retested.
Who Should Be Tested For Hiv And How Frequently
It is recommended that the consideration of HIV testing be made a component of routine care. In general, care providers should take an active approach to HIV testing, offering HIV testing to clients whether or not clients have asked for a test. In the provision of routine medical care, and in discussion with the client, care providers should consider whether there is a benefit to an HIV test.
HIV testing is associated with several advantages:
- a negative test result is an opportunity for clients to take an active role in remaining HIV negative
- the early detection of HIV, especially at the acute stage, can improve outcomes for individuals and prevent further transmission of HIV
- detection at any stage of the disease, prior to wasting and dementia, is an opportunity to initiate lifesaving treatment and other related healthcare services
- opportunities arise for conversations with clients about risk-reduction strategies
2.1.1 Testing recommendations
An in-depth comprehensive HIV behavioural risk assessment is not a requirement for offering an HIV test. An assessment that the client understands how HIV is transmitted, the implications of testing , and how to interpret the test results is sufficient.
For occasions when clients may not be able to accurately estimate their risk, the guide includes more detailed guidance in Appendix B for conducting rapid risk assessments and a more detailed technical review of HIV transmission risks can be found in Appendix C.
2.1.2 Couples testing
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Condoms Only Work If Used Correctly
Condoms are highly effective at preventing the transmission of HIV and other STIs but they only work if theyre used correctly.
To use a condom effectively, always start to use it prior to sexual contact because bacteria and viruses can be transmitted through pre-ejaculate and vaginal fluid. Make sure only to use water-based lubricants with a condom. Oil-based lubricants can weaken latex and cause the condom to break.
If you and your partner are having sex in multiple ways such as anal, vaginal, and oral sex its important to use a new condom each time.
Some Practices Dont Reduce Your Risk Of Hiv
Some people use unreliable methods to reduce their risk of HIV. These include:
- Serosorting choosing your sexual partner based upon them having the same HIV status as you.
- Strategic positioning where an HIV-negative partner penetrates an HIV-positive partner.
- Withdrawal when the insertive partner pulls out before ejaculating .
None of these strategies are reliable, so you are at risk of HIV transmission.Having sex only with people who have the same HIV status can be very risky. For example, a person may think they are HIV-negative, but may have been exposed to HIV since their last test, or may never have been tested at all.
Using a combination of proven, reliable strategies like condoms, PrEP, and undetectable viral load is the best way to prevent HIV transmission.
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S To Take After Being Exposed To Hiv
Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to HIV should get tested. If the initial test results are negative, schedule a follow-up test.
Ask a healthcare provider or contact the local department of public health to find out where to go for testing. Testing sites may offer either anonymous or confidential testing, depending on the laws in the state and local area. Anonymous means names are not recorded by the testing site, and only the person being tested has access to the results. Confidential means a healthcare provider has access to the results, and the results may be recorded in a persons medical file at the testing site.
Talk to a healthcare provider about post-exposure prophylaxis and pre-exposure prophylaxis.
Peoples actions can help stop the spread of the virus. Until someone is confident that theyre HIV-free, they should avoid sexual contact or use a condom during sex. Its also important to avoid sharing needles with others.
To find a nearby HIV testing site, visit GetTested.cdc.gov.