Thursday, June 13, 2024

When To Get Hiv Test

What Types Of Tests Diagnose Hiv

How to Get Tested for HIV – Episode 4

To diagnose HIV, healthcare providers can order any of three tests:

  • Nucleic acid test: The NAT test looks for the virus in your blood. It is a thorough laboratory test but can be costly. The results can take several days to receive.
  • Antigen/antibody test: This test looks for antibodies and antigens to HIV in your blood. Your immune system forms antibodies when it comes in contact with viruses, such as HIV. Antigens, however, are foreign substances that activate your immune system. HIV has a particular antigen that this test can find. This rapid test uses a drop of blood from a finger prick and can give you results in roughly 30 minutes.
  • HIV antibody test: This test is similar to the antigen/antibody test, but it only looks for the antibody. Just like the antigen/antibody test, this test produces results in around 30 minutes. It uses either a drop of blood from a finger prick or a swab of saliva.

Some states allow for home testing. There are two types of home tests:

  • Rapid self-test: The only rapid self-test available in the United States uses a saliva sample to check for infection. After you receive your kit, you swab your gums and use the test kit to get results.
  • Mail-in self-test: This test uses a blood sample from a simple finger prick. All of the supplies are in the kit to help you take the sample, package it and send it to the lab. A healthcare provider will tell you the results.

What Are The Benefits Of Hiv Testing

Knowing your HIV status is a great way to protect your health and the health of the people you care about. There are many benefits of getting tested for HIV, whether your results are negative or positive:

  • The test is fast and easy: During an HIV test, doctors take a blood or saliva sample to analyze. Youll know whether you have the virus in around 20 minutes. An HIV test is almost always free.
  • You can live a healthier life: If your test results show you have HIV, you can get the treatment you need to stay healthy. Today, antiretroviral drugs make it possible for people with HIV to live long, normal lives.
  • You can protect your partners: When you know your HIV status, you can take steps to protect your current and future sexual partners and encourage previous partners to get tested, as well.
  • It can give you peace of mind: If you think you might have HIV, you might feel nervous about getting tested. Its normal to feel worried about your status, but its always better to take action than to ignore your concern. Getting an HIV test can give you peace of mind.

Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment

People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:

  • tiredness and fatigue

If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.

Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.

Also Check: Can You Get Hiv From Oral

Will I Have To Pay For The Test Out Of Pocket

Most insurance companies pay for HIV tests, as do most plans under the Affordable Care Act. Some pharmacies or community health centers offer free testing too.

You can pay for some at-home tests with an HSA or FSA. But directly purchased tests may not be covered by private health insurance or Medicaid. Check with your insurance provider or your doctor about reimbursement before buying one.

If You Have A Negative Test Result Does That Mean That Your Partner Is Hiv

Who Should Get Tested?

No. Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.

HIV is not necessarily transmitted every time you have sex or share needles, syringes, or other drug injection equipment. And the risk of getting HIV varies depending on the type of exposure or behavior. Therefore, taking an HIV test is not a way to find out if your partner has HIV.

It’s important to be open with your partner and ask them to tell you their HIV status. But keep in mind that your partner may not know or may be wrong about their status, and some may not tell you if they have HIV even if they are aware of their status. Consider getting tested together so you can both know your HIV status and take steps to keep yourselves healthy.

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When Should I Be Tested For Hiv

You can be exposed to HIV by having unprotected sex with an infected person, by sharing infected needles and other injecting equipment, or from a needlestick injury. It can also be passed on from a mother to her baby during pregnancy and delivery. If you think you may have been exposed to HIV, you should get a test. You can use the NZ AIDS Foundations Been exposed tool to find out the likely risk of a specific event or encounter and advice for what to do next.

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.


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Mylab Boxhiv Home Test


This myLAB Box easy and convenient at-home HIV test allows you to screen from the comfort of home and receive your results within 2-5 days.

It helps you to know your status with just a prick on the finger, no awkward conversations, and no hassle.


  • This kit has over 99.9% accuracy and is as reliable as tests used by doctors and hospitals
  • You will receive two-way postage, and lab service fees are included
  • FSA and HSA payments are accepted
  • The company provides free telemedicine physician consultations if you test positive
  • You will receive your lab test results in 2 to 5 days after the lab has received your sample
  • Free shipping is provided with every order
  • This HIV self-testing kit uses a finger prick blood sample collection method
  • myLAB Box tests your sample via our CLIA certified laboratory partners
  • Various subscription packages are available
  • This mail-in test kit facilitates the detection of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2


You can access this at-home HIV test kit for $79.oo as a one-time purchase price. However, you can also to receive a kit either every three or six months.

My take

This at-home HIV testing kit is suitable for anyone wanting to check their HIV status, as the CDC recommends that screening for HIV should be performed routinely for all individuals aged 13-64.


This HIV self-test kit uses your sample to determine your HIV status.



My take

How Is Hiv Treated

HIV Testing

Australians can live well with HIV. Treatments have changed over time, dramatically improving the quality and length of life for someone who is HIV positive.

It is also important to have a strong support network. Evidence suggests that involving others can improve your mental health and wellbeing and help you maintain treatment.

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Could You Have A False

HIV blood test accuracy is so high that its unusual to have a positive result when you dont have HIV, or to have a negative result when you do have the virus. Still, it is possible.

These tests are highly sensitive and highly specific, so the likelihood of a false-positive or a false-negative is low, but it does occur, says Urbina. Generally, theres a greater likelihood of having a false-positive in who dont have risk factors for HIV.

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How Can Hiv Testing Help You

About 1 in 8 people in the United States who have HIV do not know they have it.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 as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you will not transmit 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 you have HIV and take HIV medicine as prescribed throughout your pregnancy and childbirth and give HIV medicine to your baby for 4 to 6 weeks after giving birth, your risk of transmitting HIV to your baby can be less than 1%. HIV medicine will protect your own health as well.

The sooner you know your status, the better. Some people with HIV have it for years before they know it. During that time, they arent getting the treatment they need to protect their health and prevent transmission of HIV to their sexual or needle sharing partners. Thats why CDC encourages more frequent HIV testing for individuals who might have a risk for getting HIV.

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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.

How Do I Know If I Have Hiv

Free and Anonymous HIV Testing Available

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.

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How Much Will It Cost

As required by the Affordable Care Act, HIV screening is covered by health insurance without a co-pay. This includes most Medicaid programs. If you dont have health insurance, some testing sites may offer free tests or offer tests on a sliding fee scale based on income. Use CDCs Get Tested to search for free testing resources.

Reasons To Get An Hiv Test Today

HIV testing fell at the start of the pandemic, new CDC data shows. Here’s why it’s so important to get caught up with testing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that close to 1.2 million people live with HIV in the U.S. But about 1 in every 5 of them doesnt know it.

Thats why getting tested is so crucial. Yet a new study published in the CDCs Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report found that the number of HIV tests administered fell by 43 to 50 percent between 2019 and 2020.

While the CDCs study includes data only on CDC-funded human immunodeficiency virus testing, the findings reflect a setback in the effort to end HIV in the U.S.

Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime, according to the CDC. Despite this sweeping recommendation, only about 43 percent of U.S. adults have ever had an HIV test, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis.

As the COVID-19 pandemic stretches into its third year, HIV may still not be top of mind. But HIV and sexual health services are always needed, says Omi Singh, MPH, the director of testing at GMHC, an HIV care and advocacy nonprofit. The current pandemic has not stopped that.

HIV, the virus that leads to the immune-system disease AIDS, is most common among intravenous drug users and men who have sex with men, and the CDC recommends that people in these groups get tested at least once a year. Yet its not just these groups who are at risk.

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When Should I Test For Hiv If Im Pregnant Or Planning To Get Pregnant

Test regularly if you or your partner is pregnant, breastfeeding or planning to get pregnant. The earlier you test during pregnancy the better. You’ll usually be tested in your first appointment, ideally before your tenth week. These tests should be repeated every three months or at least once again in your third trimester.

Catie Resources For Service Providers

A step-by-step guide to the OraQuick HIV self-test


  • Public Health Agency of Canada. HIV Screening and Testing Guide. Public Health Agency of Canada. 2013. Available from:
  • British Columbia Office of Provincial Health. HIV Testing Guidelines for the Province of British Columbia. 2014. Available from:
  • Government of Saskatchewan. 2014. Saskatchewan HIV Testing Policy. Available from:
  • AIDS Bureau, Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care. 2008. Guidelines for HIV Testing and Counselling. Available from:
  • Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec. 2019. Guide québécois de dépistage des infections transmissibles sexuellement et par le sang. . Available from :
  • Public Health Agency of Canada. Canadian Guidelines on Sexually Transmitted Infections. Ottawa, ON: Public Health Agency of Canada Accessed June 2021. Available from:
  • Harrigan M.

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    What If Your Test Result Is Positive

    Most HIV tests are antibody tests. If you use any type of antibody test and have a positive test result, you will need a follow-up test to confirm the results.

    • If you had a rapid screening test at a community testing program or other location, the testing site will arrange a follow-up test to make sure your initial test result was correct.
    • If you used a self-testing kit at home, you should go to a health care provider for a follow-up test. A positive HIV test result must always be confirmed by additional HIV testing performed in a health care setting.
    • If you had a blood test in a health care setting or a lab, the lab will conduct a follow-up test on the same blood sample as the first test.

    If your follow-up test is also positive, it means you have HIV.

    After you are diagnosed with HIV, your health care provider’s office or clinic will provide post-test counselling to help you understand the next steps, including the importance of starting HIV treatment as soon as possible. HIV treatment involves taking highly effective medicines that work to control the virus. ART is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are.

    If you have health insurance, your insurer is required to cover some medicines used to treat HIV. If you dont have health insurance or you need help because your insurance doesnt pay for the treatment you need, there are state, federal, and private resources that may help you.

    How Long Do Results Take

    Rapid HIV tests can give results in 15 to 60 minutes, or on the same day.

    Rapid refers to the time taken for the results and not to the time between exposure and the test.

    If samples are being sent to another lab, results can take from a few days or a few weeks.

    Rapid blood tests put a pin-prick of blood on a testing strip. This test takes about 15 to 20 minutes so you can get the results whilst you wait.

    Some rapid tests also work on oral samples rather than blood. Although they are sometimes called saliva tests this is not accurate. Oral samples collect cells from the surface of the gums and not saliva. These cells contain HIV antibodies.

    When samples are sent to a lab you can either collect your results in person or they will be posted out to you. It is your responsibility to get the results. A few clinics may give results over the phone.

    Rapid tests involve a 3 month window. This means the results tells you your HIV status three months ago. A positive result from a rapid test always needs to be confirmed by a different laboratory test. If you have had other recent risks, a negative result needs to be confirmed in three months.

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