Planning For Hiv Testing
Providing extended counselling, while preferred, may act as a barrier to testing for both the care provider and the testing client. The considerable resources and time required to conduct extensive risk assessments and pre- and post-test counselling have limited the ability of care providers to offer HIV testing. Behaviour-based risk assessments may also deter individuals from accessing testing, as such practices may involve revealing sensitive personal information. Both providers and clients may feel uncomfortable discussing such topics and, consequently, may avoid testing. The result is “missed opportunities” to diagnose those unaware of their HIV infection and link them with the treatment, care and support they need.
Providing sufficient information and supportive resources in conjunction with HIV testing does not necessarily require expertise in counselling or therapy. The level of support required in any given testing situation is highly dependent on the type of test and the testing client. While some clients may require comprehensive counselling, others may only need an abbreviated discussion supplemented with information resources such as brochures or websites.
Where To Get Tested
There are many different types of places where you can get an HIV test. These include health clinics, private health care providers’ offices, HIV testing centers, and health departments. There are also HIV tests you can order online or buy over the counter at stores that have pharmacies . These tests allow you to collect a sample or complete a full rapid test in the privacy of your home.
In the US, you can go to the National HIV and STD Testing Resources website or the HIV.gov website to find a testing site near you. You can also call the CDC’s information line at 800-232-4636 or call your state’s HIV/AIDS hotline.
Are These Figures Always Accurate
In some situations, these figures should be interpreted with caution:
- When tests are done with samples of fingerprick blood or oral fluid , their window periods are likely to be longer.
- Individuals who are taking pre-exposure prophylaxis or post-exposure prophylaxis may have a delayed antibody response, extending the window period.
- The data are based on individuals with HIV-1 subtype B and its possible that tests are less sensitive to other subtypes.
British HIV Association, British Association for Sexual Health and HIV and British Infection Association. Adult HIV Testing Guidelines 2020.
Delaney KP et al. Time from HIV infection to earliest detection for 4 FDA-approved point-of-care tests. Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections, abstract 565, 2018.
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Challenges In Hiv Testing
4.3.1 HIV Testing in the “window period”
The window period is the time after acquisition of HIV infection when the individual is highly infectious but tests negative on HIV antibody screening because antibodies are not immediately produced. As shown in Figure 4, the timelines associated with the window period have changed with the evolution of more sensitive antibody screening tests. While 1st generation tests detected HIV antibody an average of 60 days following exposure the 4th generation combination tests permit detection of acute HIV infection during the viremic phase. This reduces the window period to approximately 15 to 20 days. Making the diagnosis as early as possible can help prevent onward transmission of the virus, since the person is most infectious during this period. Some jurisdictions provide NAAT testing for high-risk clients , in an effort to identify very early HIV infection.
4.3.2 Indeterminate results during the window period
4.3.3 Confirmatory Testing
The Western Blot assay is not as sensitive as the 3rd and 4th generation screening tests and may yield indeterminate results during the window period. New algorithms employing NAAT as a confirmatory test are currently being evaluated.
Figure 5: Antigen/Antibody detection periods
Figure 5 is a detailed diagram showing the days elapsed, from zero to 360, since the start of HIV infection. The diagram is divided into a sliding scale of four time periods:
4.3.4 Genetic diversity of HIV
To 14 Days After Exposure
Known as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS, the acute stage occurs immediately after being infected, when the immune system has yet to control the virus. During this time, an estimated 40 percent to 90 percent of people will experience mild to moderate flu-like symptoms, whereas the rest wont experience any symptoms at all.
Although these signs typically appear within 7 to 14 days of exposure, they can also crop up as early as 3 days. Around 30 percent of people with ARS will develop a maculopapular rash of pink to red bumps, usually on the upper half of the body. The rash will gradually converge into larger, raised hives.
Other common ARS symptoms include:
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Where To Get An Hiv Test
Its never been easier to get an HIV test and to get a result quickly. You can get a test in person or order tests online, with free and paid-for options. Many tests will provide you with a result in a just a few minutes.
You can test in person at:
- An HIV testing centre, including those run by Terrence Higgins Trust.
- A GP/family doctor.
If you test at a sexual health clinic, testing centre or a GP then your test will be free. If you test at a private clinic, you will have to pay.
Face-to-face services may have different arrangements in place as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Please call them before attending.
You can also order tests online including:
- A self test, which you take yourself and see the result within a few minutes.
- A postal test, where you take a sample yourself and send it off to a lab, who will then contact you with your result.
We sell HIV self testing kits for just £15 to those most at risk of HIV. This site also offers free tests in some areas: Bedford and Central Bedfordshire, Brighton and Hove, Essex and Thurrock, Milton Keynes, Norfolk, Suffolk and the Scottish Health Board areas of Fife, Tayside, Lanarkshire and Ayrshire & Arran. Anyone living in Scotland who isn’t eligible for a free test through our service will be able to access one through the new HIV Self Test Scotland scheme when it reopens.
Try our free online HIV test finder to see what online testing is available in your area.
If youre using a self test, look out for the CE mark.
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 Happens When You Go For A Test
Normally, testing involves taking a small sample of blood from your finger or your arm, or an oral swab. This is where you rub the testing pen along your gums to collect cells from your mouth.
How long it takes for HIV test results to come back will depend on the type of test you are taking. If youre taking a rapid test, you will be given your results within 20 minutes. Other types of tests will be sent to a laboratory and it may take between a few days and a few weeks for you to receive a final result.
Tests these days are very reliable, but if your result comes back positive, you should have a second confirmatory test to double check your result. If this is also positive, you will get an HIV diagnosis, after which you can start treatment.
Remember, HIV treatment these days is very effective and people with HIV can live long and healthy lives just like anyone else.
Are Home Hiv Tests Accurate
Home tests are an accurate way to test for HIV. However, they may take longer to detect the virus after exposure than tests performed at a doctors office.
HIV antibody levels in saliva are lower than HIV antibody levels in the blood.
The at-home test is an antibody-only test. It does not test for HIV antigen, which is typically included in a fourth-generation HIV test done at a hospital or doctors office. Tests for HIV antibody and antigen can detect infection sooner.
Simply stated, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test may not detect HIV as quickly as a blood test would.
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.
If My Test Is Negative Do I Need Get Tested Again
Talk to your doctor or the counselor or social worker at the testing site to see if you need to get tested again.
Some reasons to get tested again include if you:
- have sex without a condom
- are a guy who has sex with other guys
- have had sex with more than three partners in the past year
- get an STD
- are a woman and are pregnant
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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 .
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.
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Why Its Important To Test
If you have HIV, finding out means you can start treatment, stay healthy and avoid passing the virus onto anyone else. The sooner you start treatment, the less likely you are to become seriously ill. People who are diagnosed early and get on effective treatment can expect to live a normal lifespan.
Once youre on effective treatment and your viral load is undetectable then you can’t pass the virus on to anyone else.
If you wait to test, the virus could do a lot of damage. There is a lot of support available for people who test positive.
How Reliable Is An Hiv Home
Licensed HIV tests that have been approved by national authorities are very reliable. On rare occasions they will produce a positive result which is then found to be negative – known as a false positive test result.If you receive a positive result from your home test you should go to an HIV clinic as soon as possible for a confirmation test.If you have taken a postal test you will be invited to your nearest clinic when you receive your result. If you have taken a self-test the kit should include information about contacting your local clinic.Remember that it may take up to three months from the time of infection for traces of HIV to show up in an HIV test. The kit will provide you with more specific information about this window period.
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How To Order Free At
WASHINGTON The federal government’s website for Americans to order at-home rapid Covid-19 testing kits launched on Tuesday.
The website says “every home in the U.S. is eligible to order 4 free at-home COVID-19 tests. The tests are completely free. Orders will usually ship in 7-12 days.”
“Order your tests now so you have them when you need them,” said the website.
White House press secretary Jen Psaki confirmed in her press briefing that the site is currently in its “beta phase” ahead of the official launch Wednesday.
Today, in alignment with website launch best practices, covidtests.gov is currently in its beta phase, which means that the website is operating at limited capacity ahead of its official launch,” a White House official told NBC News. “This is standard practice to address troubleshooting and ensure as smooth of an official launch tomorrow as possible. We expect the website to officially launch midmorning tomorrow.
Some users reported running into issues Tuesday afternoon relating to the address verification tool erroneously enforcing the four-per-household cap on apartment buildings and other multi-unit dwellings. A spokesperson for the Postal Service said in a statement that the error was occurring in a small percentage of orders and that user needing assistance could file a request at emailus.usps.com/s/the-postal-store-inquiry or contact a help desk at 1-800-ASK-USPS.
Teaganne Finn is a political reporter for NBC News.
Taking Care Of Yourself
Getting tested for HIV is one of the best things you can do for your health. If you test negative, you can stop worrying and have a wonderful opportunity to learn how to stay HIV-negative. If you just became aware that you acquired HIV, it is common to feel angry, scared, confused, shocked, or depressed. These feelings are normal. Please get the help and support you deserve, and know that there are many things you can do to stay healthy, including taking HIV drugs.
If you need help, check out this website to find an organization near you, whether it is a support group, a health clinic, an HIV provider, or an AIDS service organization. You can also call the US national AIDS hotline at 1-800-CDC-INFO , or the HIVinfo hotline at 1-800-HIV-0440 .
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How Do I Know If I Have Hiv
The only way to know for sure if you have HIV is to get tested. You cant tell if you have HIV just by the way you feel, because most people who get HIV dont have any symptoms for years.
Testing is a good idea if youve had unprotected sex or if your partner tests positive for HIV. You should also get tested if youve shared needles with anybody . If youre pregnant, get tested for HIV at your first prenatal visit.
Luckily, HIV testing is pretty easy and painless. The best part about getting tested for HIV? Once you get it over with, it can really put your mind at ease. And if you DO have HIV, its best to find out right away so you can take medicines to help you stay healthy and lower your chances of spreading HIV to others.
When Is The Last Time I Got A Negative Hiv Test
Once the window period has elapsed , if you test twice, using a different test device on each occasion, and both tests give a negative result, you can be confident that the result is accurate. This page was last reviewed in June 2019. It is due for review in June 2022.
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. Youll 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. Standard HIV blood test.
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