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.
Where Can You Get Tested For Hiv
Many places offer HIV testing, including your healthcare providers office, hospitals, community health centers or clinics, local health departments, and substance abuse clinics. Many pharmacies also offer testing.
Under the Affordable Care Act, HIV testing is covered by health insurance without a copay. If youre uninsured, check the CDCs HIV service locator to find free or low-cost testing options.
- Rapid Self-Test This is done completely at home and can provide results within 20 minutes. The only rapid self-test currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration is OraQuick, an oral fluid test.
- Mail-In Self-Test With this finger-stick test, you send your sample to a lab and test results are given to you by a healthcare provider.
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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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.
What Happens After The Hiv Testing
After you get your results from the test, you might be wondering what comes next. If you have a negative result, your HIV testing experience will be over. However, if you test positive, you will need to take steps to confirm the diagnosis and get the right sort of treatment. People who use STDcheck.com to get their HIV RNA test will have plenty of support following a positive diagnosis.
If your results are negative, STDcheck.com will ask you if you would like a phone consultation with a doctor. This lets you speak with one of their physicians who will explain your results to you and let you ask any questions you might have about your test. Though STDcheck.coms doctors can write prescriptions for some types of STDs, that is not an option for HIV treatment. Instead, the doctor you consult with will help you to find a local physician who can provide the treatment necessary for managing HIV.
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Other Factors Influencing Hiv Transmission Risk
Within each route of transmission, estimates of the risk of transmission vary widely, likely due to the role of behavioural and biological co-factors. Viral load appears to be an important predictor of transmission, regardless of route of transmission. However, the evidence indicates that viral load is not the only determinant, and other co-factors, such as the presence of co-infections, play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk of transmission.
The strongest predictor of sexual transmission of HIV is plasma viral load . A dose-response relationship has been observed, where each ten-fold increase in plasma VL resulted in an increased relative risk of transmission of 2.5 to 2.9 per sexual contact. The concentration of HIV in genital secretions also plays a major role in sexual transmission. While there is a strong correlation between HIV concentrations in plasma and in genital secretions, some studies have found genital tract HIV shedding in 20% to 30% of men and women without detectable plasma viral load. Much of what is known about the impact of viral load on the sexual transmission of HIV is derived from studies of heterosexual populations. Very little is known about the relationship between HIV viral load and rate of transmission through anal intercourse.
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Hiv Is Detected With A Blood Test
Blood tests are the most common and reliable tests for HIV. The virus is detected by taking a sample of your blood either with a conventional blood test or a rapid test .There is a short period of time between exposure to HIV and the ability for tests to detect HIV or its antibodies. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’ between 2 and 12 weeks.
Most tests used in Australia can detect HIV as early as 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
If your blood test shows that HIV or its antibodies are present, you are HIV-positive.
If you have no antibodies in your blood you are HIV-negative. Sometimes negative results might also mean you are in the window period, so you might need a follow-up blood test to make sure.
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Importance Of Hiv Testing For Prevention Of Hiv Infection
People with HIV who are aware of their status can get HIV treatment and remain healthy for many years. Studies show that the sooner people start treatment after diagnosis, the more they benefit from ART. Treatment with ART reduces the amount of HIV in the blood , reduces HIV-related illness, and helps prevent transmission to others. People with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to HIV-negative sex partners.
People who get tested and learn they dont have HIV can also make decisions about sex, drug use, and health care that can protect them from HIV. For people at risk for HIV, taking HIV medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis is highly effective for preventing HIV.
What Is It Used For
An HIV test is used to find out if you have been infected with HIV. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . Most people with HIV dont have AIDS. People with AIDS have an extremely low number of immune cells and are at risk for life-threatening illnesses, including dangerous infections, a severe type of pneumonia, and certain cancers, including Kaposi sarcoma.
If HIV is found early, you can get medicines to protect your immune system. HIV medicines may prevent you from getting AIDS.
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Types Of Condomless Sex And Risk Of Hiv
During condomless sex, HIV in the bodily fluids of one person may be transmitted to the body of another person through the mucous membranes of the penis, vagina, and anus. In very rare cases, HIV could potentially be transmitted through a cut or sore in the mouth during oral sex.
Out of all types of condomless sex, HIV can most easily be transmitted during anal sex. This is because the lining of the anus is delicate and prone to damage, which may provide entry points for HIV.
Receptive anal sex, often called bottoming, poses more risk for contracting HIV than insertive anal sex, or topping.
HIV can also be transmitted during vaginal sex without a condom, although the vaginal lining is not as susceptible to rips and tears as the anus.
The risk of acquiring HIV from oral sex without using a condom or dental dam is very low. It would be possible for HIV to be transmitted if the person giving oral sex has mouth sores or bleeding gums, or if the person receiving oral sex has recently contracted HIV.
In addition to HIV, anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom or dental dam can also lead to transmission of other STIs.
When To Take A Rapid Hiv Test
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , everyone between 13 and 64 years old should be tested for HIV at least once in their life. People who have sex without condoms, have multiple sexual partners, or share drug equipment are at higher risk for HIV and should be tested more frequently, whether through regular or rapid testing.
If you think youve been exposed to HIV within the past 72 hours, contact your healthcare provider or medical professional about post-exposure prophylaxis, which is medication that can prevent HIV after a possible exposure.
After someone has been infected with the virus it can take about two weeks for HIV antigen to be detectable with current antigen tests, and more than three weeks to produce enough HIV antibodies to be detected by antibody tests. In a very small number of people, the process takes up to several months.
There are different window periods for different types of tests:
- Antigen and antibody tests take blood from a vein, and can detect HIV between 18 and 45 days after exposure
- Antigen and antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick can detect HIV between 18 and 90 days after exposure
- Antibody tests can take 23 to 90 days after an exposure to detect HIV. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid
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Tests For Hiv: When To Get Correct Results
How Do HIV Tests Work? There are two basic ways to get HIV test results: Laboratory tests, antigen will become detectable starting at about two weeks.Antibodies to various HIV antigens do not start being detectable until 1 to 3 months following exposure, 97 percent of people have enough antibodies for an accurate test result.
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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Early Detection Hiv Testing
Here weâll go over HIV testing at the earliest possible time. Weâll address the accuracy of the tests, timing, and test interpretation.
Early HIV testing accuracy and timing
The best tests for early detection of HIV are the HIV Ag/Ab or HIV viral load .
|Viral load tests||Earliest time the test can be done||Ideal time for testing|
|13 days post exposure 50% accurate||44 days post exposure 99% accuracy|
|HIV RNA||Can detect as few as 50 virus copies||10â15 days 90% accurate||42 days post exposure 99% accurate|
|HIV RNA||Can detect as few as 10 virus copies||5 days post exposure 90% accurate||42 days post exposure 99% accurate|
Early HIV testing interpretation: positive versus negative
It is ideal if both early detection HIV tests, fourth-generation HIV and HIV RNA, are done at the same time.
Person considered negative
Both tests are done at the ideal time after exposure , and they are both negative
Repeat test is necessary
If both tests are negative, but clinical suspicion is high or it was a high-risk contact, repeat the test in 2 weeks
Person considered positive
- If both the HIV Ag/Ab test and RNA PCR test are positive, this confirms an HIV infection of unknown duration.
- HIV Ab test is necessary to start the treatment
Summary of early HIV test interpretation
It should help you understand the following:
Hepatitis B Incubation Period
Hepatitis B symptoms typically dont show up until between 90 and 120 days or more after exposure. A condition of the liver, hepatitis B is one of the more nefarious conditions on this list, and it is gravely important that you get tested as soon as its STD incubation period passes, should you become exposed. Fortunately, most people are vaccinated for hepatitis B at a young age, and for those who arent, effective treatments are available.
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How To Test For Hiv
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, or AIDS. Unlike some other viruses, the human body cannot get rid of HIV. That means that once you have HIV, you have it for life. An estimated 1.1 million people in the United States are living with HIV, including about 162,500 people who are unaware of their status. About 1 in 7 people in the United States who have HIV dont know they have it. Approximately 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people who are living with undiagnosed HIV. For those who are living with undiagnosed HIV, testing is the first step in maintaining a healthy life and reducing the spread of HIV. And the only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. Testing associated with HIV/AIDS involves detecting HIV antigen and/or the affected persons response to HIV , measuring the amount of virus, or detecting the viral nucleic acid. The goals of HIV testing are to:
- Screen for and diagnose HIV infection
- Measure and monitor the amount of virus in the persons blood
- Evaluate HIVs resistance to available drug therapies
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested at least once as a part of their routine health care 1). People with higher risk factors, such as more than one sex partner, other STDs, gay and bisexual men and individuals who inject drugs should be tested at least once a year.
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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What Does A Positive Result Mean
A follow-up test will be conducted. If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you are living with HIV .
If you had a rapid screening test, the testing site will arrange a follow-up test to make sure the screening test result was correct. If your blood was tested in a lab, the lab will conduct a follow-up test on the same sample.
It is important that you start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy or ART is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are. ART works by lowering the amount of virus in your body to very low levels, called viral suppression. It slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. If you are on ART and virally suppressed, you can stay healthy for many years, and greatly reduce your chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners.
If you have health insurance, your insurer is required to cover some medicines used to treat HIV. If you dont have health insurance, or youre unable to afford your co-pay or co-insurance amount, you may be eligible for government programs that can help through Medicaid, Medicare, the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program, and community health centers. Your health care provider or local public health department can tell you where to get HIV treatment.
To lower your risk of transmitting HIV:
If I test positive for HIV, does that mean I have AIDS?
Family and friends
When Is The Most Accurate Hiv Test
HIV is a syndrome that weakens human immunity caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus . When entering the human body, the virus multiplies in large numbers and attacks the bodys immune system including macrophages, T-lymphocytes, thereby reducing the patients immunity leading to other harmful microorganisms that are in good conditions to grow or enter.
After entering the body, the HIV virus usually multiplies by 3 common types:
- Viruses multiply rapidly within the first week of infection. At this point, the virus begins to spread throughout the body, and may also remain in the cerebrospinal fluid before being detected in the blood.
- After about 3 to 6 weeks, the infection starts to show signs of decrease. Especially about 95% of people infected with HIV at this stage still feel healthy. Signs of infection are usually absent or not apparent. Some people with HIV infection in an early stage will only have some symptoms like the common cold. Therefore, if an HIV test is taken at this stage, it may not give accurate results.
- The third type is the silent infection. The HIV test, if desired, the most accurate results are usually 2-3 months after exposure to the HIV virus.
In special cases, for newborns inherited from the mother, to know exactly, it is necessary to wait until the baby reaches 18 months of age to be able to identify.
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