Hiv Testing And Your Rights
Testing for HIV is voluntary and can only be done with your informed consent, except in exceptional circumstances.
Before you are tested, you will be provided with information about what is involved. what the results might mean for you, and how to prevent HIV transmission in the future. All people who request an HIV test must receive this information from the test provider.
Under Australian and Victorian law, it is unlawful to discriminate against anyone who has HIV. Test results, and details on whether someone has been tested are strictly confidential. It is illegal for any information about a person being tested or a person with HIV to be disclosed without their permission.
What Are The Benefits Of Getting Tested
Getting tested can help find an infection early or when you have no symptoms. This is important so that:
- You can take steps to avoid spreading the infection.
- You can tell your sex partner so they can be tested, get treatment if needed, and avoid spreading the infection.
- You can start treatment right away. Treatment can help your immune system stay healthy and delay or prevent AIDS. And it may help you live longer. AIDS is the last and most severe stage of HIV infection. Treatment also lowers the chance that you will give the infection to a sex partner who doesn’t have the infection.3
- A sex partner who does not have HIV could choose to take medicine to help prevent getting infected with HIV.
- If you are pregnant, you can get early treatment that can reduce the risk of passing HIV to your baby.
Where To Get Tested For Hiv
Getting an HIV test is easy. Tests for HIV and other STIs are confidential and available from your local doctor , or a sexual and reproductive health clinic.
It is a good idea to have some pre-test counselling. Before the test, talk with your doctor, nurse, or peer tester about any concerns, your level of risk, whether you are likely to be HIV-positive and what a positive result may mean.
How Much Does An Hiv Test Cost
A variety of factors influence the cost of an HIV test, including the type of test you receive, the location where you are tested, and whether or not you have health insurance. HIV testing may be provided for free or at a low cost by some clinics or health authorities. If youre a college student, you might be able to get free HIV tests through your school.
Can I Get A Same
Yes, Solv offers same-day and next-day HIV testing appointments. We collaborate with thousands of healthcare providers across the country to make it easier for everyone to access the medical assistance they require quickly and conveniently. On our website, you can choose a physician near you and make an appointment right now.
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Testing Recommendations And Requirements
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends routine HIV screening in health-care settings for all adults, aged 13-64, and repeat screening at least annually for those at higher risk.26,27 Per the CDC individuals who may benefit from at least annual screening include:28
- sexually active gay or bisexual men
- individuals who have had sex with an HIV-positive partner
- individuals who have had more than one partner since their last HIV test
- those who have shared needles or works to inject drugs
- people who have exchanged sex for drugs or money
- individuals who have another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis, or tuberculosis
- those who have had sex with someone who has participated in any of the above activities or with someone with an unknown sexual history
Certain factors are known to reduce the risk of HIV transmission including condom use, antiretroviral treatment leading to durable viral load suppression among those with HIV, which prevents further transmission, and the use of pre-exposure prophylaxis among those at increased risk for HIV.29
Additionally, HIV testing is recommended for all pregnant women and for any newborn whose mothers HIV status is unknown.30 Treatment provided to pregnant HIV-positive women and to their infants for 4-6 weeks after delivery can reduce the risk of transmitting HIV to 1% or less.31 HIV testing is also recommended for anyone who has been sexually assaulted.
When Do You Get Tested For Hiv At Home
There is typically enough viral material present for a positive result one to two weeks after possible exposure to HIV. Home testing kits such as OraQuick are antibody tests that you can complete at home using a sample of oral fluid. According to the manufacturer, the window period for OraQuick is three months.
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How Are Results Reported
Your test centre should clearly explain the results of your test.
If you have questions that were not explained, or that still worry you, ask the test centre first.
Rapid blood tests show two lines if positive or one line if negative, in a similar way as a pregnancy test .
Results from laboratory tests are given as negative, positive or indeterminate.
Negative or non-reactive means you are HIV negative. You do not have HIV .
Positive or reactive means the test shows you are HIV positive and you have HIV infection.
Indeterminate means the test result was unclear and needs to be repeated.
What Matters Most To You
Your personal feelings are just as important as the medical facts. Think about what matters most to you in this decision, and show how you feel about the following statements.
Reasons to get tested for HIV
Reasons not to get tested for HIV
I’m in a high-risk group for getting HIV.
I don’t think I have a high risk of getting HIV.
I’m worried that I could have been exposed to HIV.
I have no reason to think that I might have been exposed to HIV.
I’m worried that if I have HIV and don’t find out early, I won’t start treatment soon enough.
I don’t believe that I need treatment for HIV.
I want to be sure that I’m not spreading HIV to anyone.
I don’t think there’s any chance I could be spreading HIV to anyone.
I’m not worried that I could have a false-positive or false-negative test result.
I am worried about have a false-positive or false-negative test result.
I feel I could tell my sex partner that I’m going to have a test.
I’m worried that if I tell my sex partner I’m going to have a test, it would affect our relationship.
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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 any type 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 getting 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.
You May Be At Risk Without Realizing It
The CDC estimates that about 1.1 million people live with HIV in the U.S. But about 1 in every 7 of them doesn’t know he or she is infected.
Philip Chan, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Brown University and director of the Rhode Island STD Clinic, gives the example of a married couple in which one partner has been unfaithful. That would mean the other could have been exposed unknowingly.
Its uncomfortable talking to patients about these things, Chan says. That may be one reason the rate of screening is so low, he says, and why he and others would like to see it become a more routine part of care.
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How Often Should I Test For Hiv And Stis
If you are a guy who has sex with other guys and youve had at least one partner in the past three months, then you should be getting tested for HIV and STIs four times a year, or once every three months. Simple!
That includes every guy who is sexually active regardless of how many partners, the type of sex youre having and the kind of HIV prevention strategies you might be using .
For Trans Guys Who Have Sex With Guys
Starting or restarting PrEP for trans and gender diverse people is a bit different. Currently, daily PrEP is the only recommended method, and depending on the type of sex youre having, your dosing schedule will vary.
If you only have anal sex with cis guys, to start and continue daily PrEP:
- Take2 pills between 2-24 hours before sex, then
- Take1 pill every 24 hoursafter the double dose.
If you have all types of sex with cis guys, to start and continue daily PrEP:
- Take1 pill 7 days before you have sex, and
- Continue taking1 pill every 24 hoursafter that.
Eventually, if you think you wont have sex for a while or want to stop taking PrEP:
- Keep taking1 pill daily for 28 days after the last time you have sex.
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How Soon Can Hiv Be Detected By A Test
Most modern HIV tests are fourth or fifth generation tests, and can detect the virus in your blood from as early as four weeks after possible exposure. In other words: it takes 28 days before it shows up on the blood test.
Other types of test require more time to have passed. Rapid tests and self-test kits may not be able to detect HIV in your sample until three months after exposure.
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Should You Consider Preventive Medication
How quickly a person is able to see a healthcare provider after exposure to HIV can significantly affect their chances of contracting the virus.
If you believe youve been exposed to HIV, visit a healthcare provider within 72 hours. You may be offered an antiretroviral treatment called post-exposure prophylaxis that can reduce your risk of contracting HIV. PEP is typically taken once or twice daily for a period of 28 days.
PEP has little or no effect if taken more than
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Where Can I Get Tested For Hiv
Your health care provider can give you an HIV test. HIV testing is also available at many hospitals, medical clinics, substance use programs, and community health centers. Use this CDC testing locator to find an HIV testing location near you.
You can also buy a home testing kit at a pharmacy or online.
Check Your Prep Expiry Date And Stock Levels
Its also a good idea to check the expiry date of your PrEP pills too. Yes, just like your credit card that you nearly maxed out while online shopping, your PrEP pills have an expiry date too.
Open that PrEP bottle to check your stock. If youre running low, get a script from your doctor and stock up.
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How Long Does It Take For Hiv Symptoms To Show
A short, flu-like illness is usually the only symptom of HIV, two to six weeks after infection. About 80% of people with HIV experience this. If youre having these symptoms, and theres a chance you couldve been exposed to HIV in recent weeks, its a good idea to get tested.
The most common symptoms of this illness are:
- Sore throat
Other symptoms include aches and pains, swollen glands, and feeling very tired. After these symptoms pass its possible to go years without experiencing any symptoms.
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A Positive Result Means You Can Access Treatment
If you do have HIV, being diagnosed at an early stage helps you to live a long and healthy life. You can start HIV treatment earlier, which will reduce the amount of HIV in your body and protect your immune system from damage.
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How Often Should I Get Tested For Hiv
No-one wants to think about HIV, much less talk about it and get tested. In todays modern society, however, more people than imagined are tested for human immunodeficiency virus or HIV, as it is more commonly known. When caught in the early stages, HIV can be controlled, but if left too late, it can progress into full-blown AIDS, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, which does kill its victims. That is the predominant reason for being tested for HIV, to avoid the excruciating stages of AIDS. And, there are many ways to contract the virus, so more people should be asking the question, How often should I get tested for HIV?.
Since testing is somewhat mainstream now, it makes you wonder how often you should be tested. Certainly, the frequency of testing will depend upon the reason for testing. For individuals who insist on engaging in unprotected sex, the medical community suggests yearly testing. In addition, it recommends testing for men who have had relations with men, women who have had unprotected relations with more than one partner since the last time tested, and those individuals who have already been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease. Doctors will usually recommend testing if someone has been diagnosed with hepatitis, syphilis or tuberculosis. Likewise, if patients have indicated that they had relations with someone in this category, testing is urged.
What Do The Results Mean
If you test HIV negative, it means that you do not have HIV.
However, depending on when you last had unprotected sex or shared drugs you may have to repeat the test to be sure of the result. This is because HIV cannot be detected by tests immediately after someone gets HIV. There is a period of time from when a person is exposed to HIV to the time when it can be detected by an HIV test . This means that sometimes, even if the first test is negative, the person doing the test may recommend you come back later for a second test to confirm the first result.
Ask the tester about how often you should test in the future. They will also be able to give you information about strategies to help you stay HIV negative, such as how to use condoms correctly, or the use of PrEP or PEP , both of which involve taking HIV medications to help prevent HIV transmission. Not all options are available or appropriate for everyone, so talk to the person about what is right for you. If you use drugs, you can be connected with harm reduction services in your area.
If you test HIV positive, it means that you have HIV. It can be a shock to learn you have HIV, but its important to know that people with HIV who are diagnosed early and get the right care, treatment and support can live long, healthy and full lives.
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What Else Do I Need To Know About Hiv Testing
The world has come a long way from when the AIDS epidemic hit in the late 1980s. Researchers are working tirelessly to find treatments.
Unfortunately, many people still dont understand much about HIV. Because of this, legislation exists to protect people living with HIV and AIDS. The Americans with Disabilities Act protects people with HIV from discrimination. If you believe someone has discriminated against you because of your HIV status, you may wish to consult legal counsel.
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Research has made significant progress in terms of what we know about HIV. But there is still more to learn. Until researchers find a vaccine, HIV will continue to infect people. If you or someone you love may be HIV positive, please seek help. Current treatments can help HIV-positive people live happy, productive lives.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 03/10/2016.
Different Types Of Hiv Tests
- Standard laboratory blood tests are very accurate and provide results within a few days.
- Finger-stick blood tests provide results in 20 minutes or less.
- Oral swab tests do not require giving blood and provide results in 20 minutes.
- Self test kits are available for purchase they use an oral swab and allow you to test yourself in private.
The time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can tell for sure whether they have HIV is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and depends on the type of test used to detect HIV.
Recent HIV infections can result in symptoms that may seem similar to cold or flu symptoms, such as fever, rash and sore throat. If you are experiencing these symptoms after a possible HIV exposure, be sure to tell your health care provider you are concerned you have an HIV infection, not just a cold or flu.
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