Should I Tell Anyone Else Of My Test Results
Yes. If you test positive for HIV infection, it is important that you tell your healthcare practitioners as well as all current and future sex partners and/or anyone with whom you share needles. Counseling services are often available from the clinic that performed the test or from your healthcare provider that will help you to inform the people who need to know.
When Can Each Test Be Used
Viral load can sometimes be detected within a week, p24 on average by day 16 and antibodies by day 25. However, these are average results a lot of people take longer.
A test that misses half of infections is not very useful.
So a 4th generation antigen/antibody test is recommend four weeks after exposure because it will detect 95% of infections.
Validating the timing of viral load , p24 and antibodies is difficult. Tests can only be checked against blood samples from the same people before and after infection. These are usually people who regularly donate blood .
Some of these people catch HIV without knowing it. When this picked up in blood screening, these samples are used for testing new HIV tests.
This is why it is impossible to give the percentage chance that a test will be accurate for each day. The tests have been checked on a limited number of samples. These sample reflect the large range of individual responses.
On average, viral load tests with a cut-off of 50 copies/mL detect infection about 7 days before a p24 antigen test and 12 days before an antibody test.
These relative times are only used when comparing new tests. They are not good at setting an absolute cut off at 14 days or 19 or 41 days etc.
Figure 13 shows the time ranges after an exposure. Very rarely an antibody response may take longer. Even more rarely an infection may not make antibodies. These people have positive viral RNA and DNA.
What Are The Different Types Of Hiv Testing
There are three main types of HIV tests: antibody tests, RNA tests, and a combination test that detects both antibodies and viral protein called p24 . All tests are designed to detect HIV-1, which is the type of HIV in the United States. Some antibody tests and the combination test can also detect HIV-2 infections, which are usually limited to West Africa. No test is perfect tests may be falsely positive or falsely negative or impossible to interpret .
Positive test results are reportable to the health department in all 50 states and include the patient’s name. This information is then reported to the CDC so that the epidemiology and infection spread rates can be monitored. The names sent to the state remain confidential and will not be reported to employers, family members, or other such people. Some states allow anonymous testing in which the patient’s name is not recorded.
HIV antibody tests: HIV possesses many unique proteins on its surface and inside the virus itself. When someone is infected with HIV, their body produces proteins designed to tag the virus for elimination by the immune system. These proteins are called antibodies, and they are directed against the unique proteins of HIV. Unfortunately, these HIV antibodies do not eliminate the virus, but their presence serves as a marker to show that someone is infected with HIV. HIV antibody tests are the most commonly used tests to determine if someone has HIV.
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What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, there are therapies that can improve immune function, reduce the risk and/or frequency of opportunistic infections, and prolong life. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Panel on Antiretroviral Guidelines for Adults and Adolescents as well as the World Health Organization recommend that all individuals diagnosed with HIV infection receive treatment as soon as possible, including pregnant women. With advances in treatment, individuals with HIV infection are living longer, healthier lives. People typically take at least three drugs from two different classes in order to prevent or minimize virus replication and the emergence of drug-resistant strains. Combinations of three or more antiretroviral drugs are referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART. Read the Treatment section of the article on HIV Infection and AIDS for additional details.
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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How Confidential Are Hiv Test Results
Your HIV status, like other medical conditions and test results, is protected by the HIPAA Privacy Rule and cannot be shared with friends, family, or employers without your written permission. Your HIV status may be shared with your healthcare providers who have a “need to know” in order to treat you. Also, in order to determine the incidence of HIV and to provide appropriate prevention and care services, all new cases of HIV are reported to state and local health departments.
Certain testing centers provide either anonymous or confidential HIV testing and counseling. The FDA has approved one home testing device that allows you to remain anonymous and to get confidential results. You can also contact your state, county, or city health department to find out where testing may be available.
What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
There are three types of tests used to diagnose HIV infection: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests . How soon each test can detect HIV infection differs, because each test has a different window period. The window period is the time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can accurately detect HIV infection.
- Antibody tests check for HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid. HIV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HIV infection. Most rapid tests and home use tests are antibody tests.
- Antigen/antibody tests can detect both HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in blood.
- NATs look for HIV in the blood.
A persons initial HIV test will usually be either an antibody test or an antigen/antibody test. NATs are very expensive and not routinely used for HIV screening unless the person had a high-risk exposure or a possible exposure with early symptoms of HIV infection.
When an HIV test is positive, a follow-up test will be conducted. Sometimes people will need to visit a health care provider to take a follow-up test. Other times the follow-up test may be performed in a lab using the same blood sample that was provided for the first test. A positive follow-up test confirms that a person has HIV.
Talk to your health care provider about your HIV risk factors and the best type of HIV test for you.
How Long It Takes To Get Results Over From An Hiv Test
Results from antibody tests that are sent to a lab almost take 1-3 days to come then you can carry forward your HIV treatment however, this fluctuates relying upon the inspection, the lab, and whether it is a home test kit. If the test is sure, results may delay while the laboratory does a Western blot to be sure that HIV antibody is available. Results from fast tests done in the health care services proficient office are generally available in 15-20 minutes.
Interpretation Of Serological Test Results
Negative HIV serological testing in an infant, following nationally validated testing algorithms, suggests the following:
- The infant is not HIV-exposed or
- The infant is HIV-exposed but has seroreverted or
- If the infant has never been breastfed or not breastfed in the past 6 weeks, the infant is HIV uninfected.
If the infant is still breastfeeding, a negative HIV serological test result cannot exclude HIV infection.
Positive or reactive HIV serological testing in an infant suggests the following:
- The infant is HIV-exposed and /or
- The infant may be HIV-infected the older the infant, the more likely the infant is of being HIV-infected.
For the purposes of testing in children in relation to breastfeeding, the window period required before serological testing can be reliably interpreted after cessation of breastfeeding using rapid tests or EIA is recommended to be 6 weeks. Isolated case reports of false-negative rapid HIV tests in sick children who then go on to being HIV-infected need to be investigated.
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What Happens If The Test Is Positive
If you receive a positive result, you will want to work with your healthcare provider on a treatment plan. Your healthcare provider will determine how far HIV has progressed and recommend medicines to help you manage it.
You will also want to talk about your diagnosis with your sexual partner. If you and your partner have had unprotected sex, you could have transmitted the virus to them. They should get tested, too.
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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The Accuracy Of Different Rapid Tests
A wide range of point-of-care tests have been manufactured in many countries, but only a few of them have been subject to rigorous, independent evaluations, and even fewer are marketed in the UK. Research on HIV tests is only occasionally published in medical journals. Informally, laboratory professionals may have insights into which tests perform best.
It is important to verify that any test used is CE marked. This should mean that the test conforms to European health and safety legislation, although it does not necessarily mean that test performance has been independently evaluated.
There are variations in accuracy from one test to another, with some older tests that are not usually marketed in the UK having a sub-optimal sensitivity and specificity. However, evaluations by the World Health Organization of several rapid diagnostic tests that either have CE marks or are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration , indicate that most are extremely accurate. The key measures of accuracy are sensitivity and specificity .
Of note, in the World Health Organization data below, the tests were performed with samples of plasma or serum. However, the tests are less sensitive when testing whole blood sampled from a finger prick. Moreover, the blood was taken from people who had chronic HIV infection, but the tests are less accurate in cases of recent infection.
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Should Pregnant Women Get Tested For Hiv
CDC recommends that all pregnant women get tested for HIV so that they can begin taking HIV medicines if they are HIV positive. Women with HIV take HIV medicines during pregnancy and childbirth to reduce the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV and to protect their own health. For more information, read the ClinicalInfo fact sheet on Preventing Mother-to-Child Transmission of HIV.
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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 .
What Happens After A Positive Hiv Diagnosis
If you have recently been diagnosed with HIV, you will likely be referred to a specialist for further testing and care. People who are looking for additional provider options for HIV care can find a national directory run by the CDC at findhivcare.hrsa.gov. Some primary care providers also offer HIV treatment.
After an HIV diagnosis, your doctor will likely perform several types of tests to see how and if HIV has affected your health. These tests include:
- Viral load: This test shows how much of the virus is in your blood.
- CD4 count: This test determines the health of your immune system. People with a CD4 count of less than 200 are considered to have advanced HIV infection. People with a CD4 count of 200â500 are considered immunosuppressed.
Any person confirmed to have HIV should be started on antiretroviral therapy as soon as possible to improve their outcome. These tests can also be used to determine whether any antiretroviral therapies are working and to monitor the progression of your HIV.
The goal of antiretroviral therapy is to help you reach an undetectable viral load, in which there is so little HIV in your blood that it cannot be detected on a nucleic acid test. People with an undetectable viral load cannot transmit the virus to others.
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When To Get Tested
Seek medical advice immediately if you think there’s a chance you could have HIV. The earlier it’s diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming seriously ill.
Some HIV tests may need to be repeated 1-3 months after exposure to HIV infection, but you should not wait this long to seek help.
A GP or a sexual health professional can talk to you about having a test and discuss whether you should take emergency HIV medicine.
Anti-HIV medicine called post-exposure prophylaxis may stop you becoming infected if taken within 72 hours of being exposed to the virus.
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.
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Symptoms Of An Hiv Infection
HIV can be difficult to diagnose without an STD test for two reasons:
A person does not necessarily have AIDS if s/he tests positive for HIV.
A diagnosis of AIDS must be made by a physician using the CDC AIDS Case Definition.
An AIDS diagnosis is typically made on the basis of contracting one of the CDC-defined AIDS indicator illnesses.
Or, a person infected with HIV may be diagnosed using blood tests .
What Are The Benefits Of Home Hiv Tests
HIV is much easier to manage and treat if its identified early and treatment is started as soon as possible.
Home HIV tests allow people to receive results almost immediately sometimes within minutes without having to wait for an appointment with a healthcare professional or take time out of their schedule to visit a lab.
Early identification is essential for successful long-term treatment and survival with HIV.
Home tests empower people to learn whether they have the virus earlier than any other testing methods. This can help them limit the virus effect on them and on others around them.
Early identification can even protect people they do not know, as their sexual partners could potentially contract HIV and then transmit it to others.
Early treatment can suppress the virus to undetectable levels, which makes HIV untransmittable. The CDC considers any viral load of
During the early stages, which is known as primary infection or acute HIV infection, it can be much easier for a person to transmit HIV to others because levels of virus in the blood are very high.
A person should consider taking an HIV test if they experience these symptoms after the following activities:
- having sex without a condom or another barrier method
- injecting drugs
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