What Is An Hiv Viral Load
An HIV viral load is a blood test that measures the amount of HIV in your blood. HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys cells in the immune system. These cells protect your body against viruses, bacteria, and other disease-causing germs. If you lose too many immune cells, your body will have trouble fighting off infections and other diseases.
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS . HIV and AIDS are often used to describe the same disease. But 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 you have HIV, you can take medicines to protect your immune system, and they may prevent you from getting AIDS.
Other names: nucleic acid testing, NAT, nucleic acid amplification test, NAAT, HIV PCR, RNA Test, HIV quantification
Hiv 1 Early Detection Test
The HIV-1 RNA test, sometimes known as an HIV-1 early detection test, checks for HIV-1 RNA in the blood.
The HIV-1 RNA test is known as an early detection test as it checks for HIV-1 genetic material known as RNA, or ribonucleic acid. This particular lab test uses the APTIMA® HIV-1 RNA qualitative assay, an FDA-approved nucleic acid amplified test , to determine results. At present, this HIV-1 RNA test is the only RNA NAAT assay to support the CDC HIV testing guidelines. The HIV-1 RNA blood test is sometimes used in addition to the standard HIV test and is part of the STD early detection test panel.
To get an HIV-1 RNA test near you, just order online and get your blood drawn at the Quest Diagnostics lab that you selected. Once your HIV-1 RNA lab report is ready, it will be available for electronic download. As can be seen on the sample report link provided, the HIV-1 early detection test results are reported in a qualitative manner. In other words, a negative test result will be reported as not detected as opposed to reporting a number.
- A doctor’s lab order*
- A PDF copy of your test results
- Responsive customer service
How An Hiv Rna Test Is Done
Since the HIV RNA test is a blood test, theres no special way to prepare for it. But some people find that being well hydrated before any type of blood test makes it easier for the technician to find a vein.
A technician will swab your arm with an antiseptic wipe or solution. Then, a blood sample will be drawn from a vein in your arm.
Based upon the lab used, it may take up to 10 days for you to get the results of your test.
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When You Should Take An Hiv Test
Getting tested is all depends upon your circumstances. If youre a sexually active person, you should get tested frequently. CDC recommends at least once in a year. If you have never been tested for an HIV in your life, you should get tested at least once.
You should also get tested if you have practiced anyone these
- Have had sex with multiple sex partners .
- Youre a man who had sex with another man.
- You have had sex with someone who is an HIV positive or whos status is unknown to you.
- Youre using illegal drugs or steroids
- Youve shared a syringe or needle
- You have diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease
How Can I Get Tested For Hiv
There are a few different ways you can get access to HIV screening:
- A blood or saliva sample can be collected in a healthcare practitioner’s office or a local clinic and sent to a laboratory for testing. Certain testing centers provide either anonymous or confidential HIV testing and counseling. You can also contact your state or local health department to find out where testing may be available. To find a testing site near you, visit the National HIV and STD Testing Resources webpage.
- In these same settings, there may be a rapid test available, with results that are generated in 20 minutes or less.
- There is a home test for HIV that has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration . It uses a saliva sample and results are available in about 20 minutes.
The home test has two limitations:
1. The saliva test is less sensitive than a blood test, so the home test may miss some cases of HIV that a blood test would detect.2. The home test is not as accurate when it is performed at home by a lay person compared to when it is performed by a trained healthcare professional. However, the convenience of home testing might encourage some people who might otherwise be reluctant to go to a healthcare practitioner or clinic to learn their HIV status.
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What Are The Symptoms Of Hiv Infection
Symptoms of the initial HIV infection can mimic those of influenza and other viral infections. The only reliable way to tell if you are infected is to get tested. Many people with HIV do not experience symptoms for years after the initial infection or have symptoms that are very similar to symptoms of other illnesses. For more, see this CDC web page: About HIV.
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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Why Should You Get Tested For Hiv
Here are some HIV facts that will give you a reason to get tested for HIV today.
- More than 36.7 million people living with HIV/AIDS in the world.
- Out of 36.7 million HIV infected people only 60% know their status and the remaining 40% still dont know that they are infected.
- In the year 2015, 2.1 million new cases of HIV were reported worldwide.
- In the United States, about 1.2 million people are living with HIV and 1 in 8 of them doesnt know about it.
- Gay and bisexual men are the most affected by HIV.
- 1 out of 4 HIV infected person is a women.
- California, Maryland, Florida, New York, Illinois, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia are the top 10 states that have the highest number of HIV cases.
Appendix : Different Types Of Hiv Test
Different HIV tests work by looking for three different things.
In this section we describe the main HIV tests.
- Antigen only . These are rarely used.
- Antibody only tests . These are rarely used because of more recent availablilty of joint Ag/Ab tests.
- Combined antibody-antigen tests. These are the most commonly recommended tests in the UK. these test for p24 plus antibodies.
- Viral load tests
More details about how the tests work and the science behind them is included in Appendix 3.
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When Is The Right Time To Take The Hiv Rna Test
According to 2012 reports by the CDC, there were 1.2 million individuals living with HIV in the United States. There are people who have HIV and are not aware. This is because the infection might not show any signs or symptoms for years. With nearly 50,000 new HIV infection cases every year, it is important to get a HIV test now. If you have been involved in illicit drug injection or unprotected sex recently, it is a good idea to get tested. It is also important to get tested for other common STDs since having one puts you at a greater risk of other infections.
Why Should You Go For Hiv Rna Test Right Now
Approximately 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe and out of those approximately 1.2 million are in the U.S itself.
In 2013 alone approx. 50,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States.
Research says that 1 out of 8 people suffering from HIV/AIDS dont know theyre infected. Getting tested is the only way to know your status and HIV RNA Test is the only fastest way to be sure.
Just after 9-11 days of exposure, the virus can be detected in your blood using the HIV RNA test.
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Combined Antibody/antigen Tests Or 4th Generation Test
Combined Antibody/Antigen tests are more common nowadays. These are popularly known as 4th generation tests. In these test a major HIV protein is being tested i.e p24. The protein is usually produced by the body after 2-3 weeks of getting infected and before antibodies are produced. p24 levels are only detectable for the next 12 months.
4th generation tests can detect 95% of infections after 4 weeks of infection. The test has a window period of 4 weeks.
Image: Types of HIV tests and time when they can detect an HIV infection.
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.
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Hiv Tests For Screening And Diagnosis
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can detect HIV depends upon different factors, including the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV diagnostic tests: nucleic acid tests , antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests.
An initial HIV test usually will either be an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV test is a rapid test or a self-test and it is positive, the individual should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a laboratory test and it is positive, the laboratory will usually conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are generally very accurate, follow-up testing allows the health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.
Resources for FDA-approved laboratory tests, self-tests, and testing of self-collected samples are available. Learn more about testing in nonclinical settings and screening in clinical settings.
Is This Test Included In Any Screens
The HIV 1 RNA test is available as part of our Early Detection Screen which tests for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C. Your results will be ready just 3 working days from when your sample is received in our laboratory. Our comprehensive Early Platinum Screen includes a 10-Day HIV test in addition to testing for many other infections.
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Get Tested Every Three Months
Whats the best time to get tested for HIV and STIs? We recommend people who are sexually active and people who inject drugs get tested for HIV and sexually-transmitted infections every three to six months.
Establishing a regular testing schedule for yourself is a great way to take charge of your sexual health. Encouraging your regular sex partners to do the same is a great way of helping your partners and the community.
If you live in San Francisco or the Bay Area, stop by any of our locations for free HIV and STI testing. A counselor will be able to recommend a testing schedule for you. Schedule tests far in advance so they become routine.
Where To Get Tested For Hiv
We are the only company in the United States that offers FDA-Approved HIV RNA Test.
With over 4000 STD Testing centers, weve our presence in almost every location in the country.
To find one of our STD Testing centers near you, just enter your area zip code on our website and choose the test center where you want to get tested. After that, order test and visit the test center that you have chosen.
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Your Chances Of A False Negative
A false negative is definitely a concerning concept because it would mean that you have HIV but the test told you that you had nothing to worry about. To measure a persons chances of getting a false negative, the FDA requires testing organizations to measure the sensitivity of the test. This refers to the tests ability to give a positive result when a person has HIV.
The sensitivity ratings about the HIV RNA test offered at STDcheck.com has an official sensitivity rating of 100 percent. In laymans terms, this essentially means that if you have HIV, the test will definitely let you know. You should not have to worry that the test accidentally missed any HIV RNA in your body.
What Are Hiv Symptoms
Many people who have HIV may not experience symptoms weeks, months, or years after infection. According to the CDC, nearly 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people unaware they have the virus. Symptoms may start out mild and flu-like. While the viral load of HIV in the blood increases, the individuals CD4+ count will start to fall. This makes the individual vulnerable to infections and opportunistic illnesses like tuberculosis and candidiasis.
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Why Should You Be Testing For Hiv
According to HIV.gov approximately 1.1 million people in the US are infected with HIV today, and about 15% of those people are unaware that they are infected. An estimated 38,700 Americans were infected in 2016.
Gay and bisexual men bear the greatest likelihood of infection, representing 26,000 new HIV infections in 2016.
Currently, there is no cure for HIV/AIDS. HIV has a reputation as one of the most feared sexually transmitted diseases, and as a result, researchers across the globe have been working tirelessly for decades to find a cure. Recently, medical treatments and prevention efforts have been made that help people infected with HIV/AIDS to live normal and healthy lives.
If I Test Positive For Hiv What Follow
If you are HIV-positive, follow-up tests may include the following:
- HIV viral load testingmeasures the amount of HIV in the blood. It is performed when you are first diagnosed to help determine the status of the disease and is ordered at intervals to monitor the effectiveness of therapy.
- CD4 countmeasures the number of CD4 T-cells in the blood. It is ordered when you are first diagnosed to get a baseline assessment of your immune system and it is done at intervals to monitor therapy and the status of the immune system.
- HIV antiretroviral drug resistance testing, genotypicordered when you are initially diagnosed to determine whether the particular strain of HIV that you have is resistant to certain antiretroviral drug therapies. This testing is also ordered when treatment is changed or when there is evidence of treatment failure.
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Some Facts About Hiv/aids
- 52% people living in the United States with HIV/AIDS, are men who have sex with men
- 44% MSM who tested positive were not aware that they are infected.
- One out of Five people living with HIV is unaware of their status.
- Female are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS.
- One in Four people living with HIV is a Women.
- In 1981, the first HIV cases were reported.
- RNA Test can be used to detect HIV early.
- Over 4,90,000 African American are living with HIV.
- New HIV diagnosis is highest among individual aged 25-34 years followed by individuals aged 13-24 years .
- A person infected with HIV spends average $19,912 on HIV treatment every year.
- 7% of Trans Women tested positive for HIV.
- Gay & bisexual men should get tested for HIV every 12 months.
- Top 10 states with the highest rate of HIV are California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.
See Pricing & Test Options Find a Test Center Near You
Where Can I Get Hiv Early Detection Test
There are several laboratories across the country where you can have a sample of your blood taken for testing. The lab technician simply draws a small tube of blood that will then be analyzed for the genetic material of the AIDS virus.
In most instances, there are several laboratories where you can be tested within your zip code.
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How Does Rna Test Work
At its most basic level, the HIV RNA test is done simply by checking the blood for HIV RNA, but the precise mechanisms used to check the blood are a little more complicated. Getting into the exact scientific method behind this style of test could take pages and pages, so we will just provide a quick overview of how it works.
HIV RNA testing is done with a polymerase chain reaction. In this method, an automated device combines carefully measured amounts of various chemicals in a test tube with the patients sample. The polymerase chemicals copy any DNA and RNA from the sample to create easily readable genetic information from even small bits of RNA. Polymerase chain reaction is a very useful way to read accurate genetic information even from a minute sample, so it lets scientists identify whether or not there is any HIV RNA in a patients sample.