How Is Hiv Diagnosed
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved tests that detect HIV antibodies in urine, fluid from the mouth , or blood. If a test on urine or oral fluid shows that you are infected with HIV, you will probably need a blood test to confirm the results. If you have been exposed to HIV, your immune system will make antibodies to try to destroy the virus. Blood tests can find these antibodies in your blood.
Most doctors use a screening blood test. If the screening is positive , the blood sample is tested again to verify the result. If the second test is positive, a test called a Western blot is performed for further confirmation.
It may take as long as six months for HIV antibodies to show up in a blood sample. If you think you have been exposed to HIV but you test negative for it:
- Get tested again in six months to be sure you are not infected.
- Meanwhile, take steps to prevent the spread of the virus. If you are infected, you can still pass HIV to another person at this time.
Some people are afraid to be tested for HIV. But if there is any chance you could be infected, it is very important to find out. HIV can be treated. Getting early treatment can slow down the virus and help you stay healthy. And you need to know if you are infected so you can prevent spreading the infection to other people.
Can A Regular Blood Test Detect Hiv
Routine blood work is in fact a battery of separate tests, all run on samples of your blood. Each test looks for a different thing. While there’s no reason why the tests shouldn’t include a specific test for HIV, this isn’t necessarily routine practice.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages medical professionals to routinely offer HIV testing to people living in areas where HIV is a common medical problem. They should also offer testing to people whose behavior may put them at increased risk. But patients should be specifically informed that HIV testing is part of routine care and have the opportunity to decline HIV testing.
And implementation of the CDC’s guidance is patchy. While an HIV test could be included with your routine blood work, there’s a very strong chance that it isn’t.
Typical routine blood tests include the complete blood count that measures your red and white blood cell numbers as well as hemoglobin and other numbers. Abnormal increases or decreases in these cell counts may indicate that you have an underlying medical condition that calls for further evaluation. But this is not a sensitive test for HIV infection.
Other tests often included examine your blood glucose, calcium, electrolyte, cholesterol and triglyceride levels.
You could ask your healthcare provider whether he or she could include an HIV test alongside your other blood tests.
Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
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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 canât 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.
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What Is Acute Hiv Infection
There are three stages of HIV infection:
- Stage 1:Acute HIVinfection
- Stage 2:Chronic HIV infection
- Stage 3:AIDS
Acute HIV infection is the first stage of the infection. Usually within two to four weeks of infection, two-thirds of those with HIV will experience flu-like symptoms. These symptoms may last for several days or even weeks. However, some people may experience no symptoms at all.
In this stage, there is a large amount of HIV in your blood, which is known as the viral load. Studies have noted incredibly high viral loads during the acute stage, meaning you are more contagious at this time.
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What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you don’t have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but it’s 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, it’s important to see your health care provider regularly.
Who Should Get An Hiv Test
The CDC recommends that everyone in the United States between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
You should be tested more often â at least once a year â if youÃ¢re at higher risk of getting HIV, including if you:
- Have had several sexual partners
- Had unprotected sex with someone who is or could be HIV-positive, including someone whose sexual history you donât know
- Injected drugs with a needle, syringe, or other device that someone else used first
- Have had or are getting tested for tuberculosis, hepatitis, or any sexually transmitted disease, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes
- Have had sex for drugs or money
- Had sex with someone who has a history of any of these
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Latency Causes A Break In Symptoms
After initial exposure and possible primary infection, HIV may transition into a stage called clinically latent infection. Its also referred to as asymptomatic HIV infection due to a noticeable lack of symptoms. This lack of symptoms includes possible chronic symptoms.
According to HIV.gov, latency in HIV infection can last for 10 or 15 years. This doesnt mean that HIV is gone, nor does it mean that the virus cant be transmitted to others. Clinically latent infection may progress to the third and final stage of HIV, also referred to as AIDS.
The risk for progression is higher if a person with HIV isnt receiving treatment, such as antiretroviral therapy. Its important to take prescribed medications during all stages of HIV even if there arent any noticeable symptoms. There are several medications used for HIV treatment.
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What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
- Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are a part of the bodys immune system that helps get rid of bacteria and viruses. An HIV infection, like many other infections, can cause the inflammation of lymph nodes, which can be felt as round or nodular swellings in the armpit, groin, and neck. The swelling is often associated with aches and pains in these areas.
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How Soon Can Hiv Be Detected In Blood
Human immunodeficiency virus, better known as HIV, is a virus that attacks the bodys immune system. It is usually contracted through contact with bodily fluids such a blood, semen and vaginal fluids. It can be transmitted through sexual contact or by sharing needles with an HIV-infected person. HIV cannot be spread by saliva or touching someone with HIV. If left untreated, HIV can lead to the development of AIDS , which is the most severe stage of HIV.
What tests are available for HIV?
The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested. The CDC recommends anyone ages 13-64 be tested at least once a year and with any new sexual partner.
There are three types of tests available to check for HIV:
- A nucleic acid testis a blood test that looks for the virus in the blood. After blood is drawn from a vein and sent to a lab, the blood is tested to see if a person has HIV and see how much of the virus is present, which is known as HIV viral load. Results may take several days to be available.
- Antibody testsonly look for antibodies present in someones blood or saliva. Your healthcare provider can check for antibodies by drawing blood from a vein, which is then sent to a lab for testing. These test results may take several days to be available. For rapid results, they can perform a finger prick or take a swab of oral fluid, and results are available within 30 minutes.
- Getting tested yearly and with every new sexual partner
- Condom use
How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody test is recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody tests only look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. 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. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
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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. You can also contact your state or local health department to find out where testing may be available.
What If I Am Pregnant Is My Baby Going To Get Hiv Too
If a pregnant woman has HIV, she can take medication during pregnancy to prevent her baby from becoming infected. After birth, the baby will be given medicine for the first six weeks of life to make sure he or she is not infected. HIV-exposed babies should receive medical care from a HIV doctor until it is certain that the baby is not infected. HIV-infected women should not breastfeed in order to prevent transmitting the infection to infants.
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How An Hiv Test Works
An HIV test is a blood test. It does not detect HIV itself, but looks for a protein found in an HIV cell, or an antibody made by the body to fight HIV.
HIV tests in the UK are very reliable. They can occasionally produce a positive result which is then found to be negative when tested again. This is called a false positive and is rare, occurring in less than 1 in 1000 cases.
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What Are My Options For Hiv Testing
There are 3 main options for HIV testing.
- Lab testing: This requires a standard blood test, where blood is drawn from your vein into a tube and sent to a laboratory . You will have to wait a few days for results.
- Rapid test: A rapid test for HIV is offered by the NZAF. The rapid test involves a finger prick, where a drop of blood is placed into the testing device. The rapid HIV tests have over 99.2% accuracy and you will get your result in a few minutes.
- Home test: Home testing kits are available. For this test, you swab your gums to collect an oral fluid sample and use the materials in the kit to test your oral fluid sample. You will be able to get a result within 20 minutes.
HIV can be detected by some tests as early as 2 weeks after exposure, but it may take up to 3 months for it to show. Everyone responds differently to the virus.
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What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Hiv
No two people with HIV will have the same symptoms, and some may not have any at all. But the infection can cause some common changes over time.
In the first few weeks: These first, flu-like symptoms happen because your body is reacting to HIV. Your immune system is trying to fight it off. The symptoms at this stage can include:
- Aches and pains in muscles and joints
Keep in mind that even if you have these symptoms, that doesnât automatically mean you are HIV-positive. Many different illnesses can cause these problems. Talk to a doctor or an HIV testing facility if you think you might be infected.
At this early stage of HIV infection, itâs important to know that you may not get accurate results from an HIV test. It can take 3-12 weeks for enough signs of the virus to show up on routine tests for the infection, which measure antibodies against HIV. A new kind of screening, called a nucleic acid test, can detect the virus itself during this early stage, but itâs expensive and not usually used for routine HIV testing.
Let the testing site or your doctor know if you think you might be recently infected. Also, be sure to use a condom every time you have sex, and take other steps to prevent spreading the virus.
After years with untreated HIV, youâre likely to get infections caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi that your body is no longer strong enough to fight off. They can be a sign that your infection has gone from HIV to AIDS. You might have:
- Weight loss
Does Hiv Show Up In Routine Blood Tests
Routine blood tests do not always include HIV tests. Doctors can order HIV tests when they think patients are at risk for HIV infection.
HIV testing is usually done through a blood test, according to the Center for Disease Control. However, there are a few different kinds of tests for HIV. The most common is a laboratory antibodies test, which tests for the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood or oral fluid. This is usually conducted as a blood test, as antibody levels tend to be higher in the blood. The FDA approves two tests for home use: Home Access HIV-1 Test System and OraQuick In-home HIV test. The first involves a prick to the finger and the second involves a mouth swab. However, both of these tests require a laboratory test as a follow-up.
Because antibodies testing can only detect HIV 3 weeks after exposure, doctors can sometimes conduct an RNA test. This type of test looks for the presence of the virus in the blood instead of the antibodies. It can detect HIV as soon as it enters the bloodstream, which usually tales around 10 days. However, because they cost more than antibodies tests, doctors do not usually order them for HIV screening.
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