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.
Appendix D: Natural History Of Hiv Infection
Human immunodeficiency virus is a retrovirus that infects the cells of the immune system. It is transmitted via exposure to body fluids that contain lymphocytes or free infectious viral particles . The routes of infection are: unprotected sexual intercourse, sharing of injection-drug use equipment and from an HIV-infected mother to her unborn child. Although rare, HIV can also be transmitted through an occupational exposure such as a needlestick injury or other event where blood to blood exposure could occur. All blood and blood products used in Canadian healthcare settings now undergo extensive screening for HIV prior to use, so new infections related to their use have been virtually eliminated .
The virus can enter the body through unprotected mucous membranes where cells may become infected with HIV . The presence of a sexually transmitted infection can enhance HIV transmission because of lesions and/or an increased number of lymphocytes. Using a needle contaminated with HIV-infected blood deposits the virus directly into the blood system, where infection of lymphocytes will occur. Transmission from mother to child can take place in utero, during delivery through exposure to the mother’s blood or vaginal secretions, and through breast milk . Seroconversion occurs when an individual changes from being HIV antibody negative to HIV antibody positive.
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.
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Making Hiv Testing Routine
You might want to test more regularly than this, for example, if you are having sex with a new partner or feel you are more at risk. Groups who are more at risk are recommended to test more regularly. Testing every 3-6 months is often advised for men who have sex with men.;
Testing regularly helps keep your mind at rest, and if you test positive, it means you can start treatment quickly, protecting your health.
Where Did Hiv Come From
Interestingly enough, the CDC says that HIV comes from a type of chimpanzee usually found in Central Africa . Scientists think that the chimpanzee version of the virus was probably transmitted to humans when humans hunted the chimpanzees for meat . This could have happened as long ago as the 19th century! But the virus took decades to reach the U.S., where it didnt rise to prominence until the 1970s.
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What Happens During An Hiv Test
You will either get a blood test in a lab, or do your own test at home.
For a blood test in a lab:
- A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out. This usually takes less than five minutes.
For at home test, you will need to get a sample of saliva from your mouth or a drop of blood from your fingertip.
- The test kit will provide instructions on how to get your sample, package it, and send it to a lab.
- For a saliva test, you will use special spatula-like tool to take a swab from your mouth.
- For a fingertip antibody blood test, you will use a special tool to prick your finger and collect a sample of blood.
For more information on at-home testing, talk to your health care provider.
Appendix C: Hiv Transmission Risk
This appendix is condensed from a more detailed technical report, HIV Transmission Risk: A Summary of the EvidenceFootnote 3 which synthesises the scientific evidence on the risk of HIV transmission through sexual activities, injection and other drug use, and mother-to-child transmission. Over 200 references formed the basis of the review, based on a search of the literature for the period between 2001 and March 2012 Footnote 4. The findings from this large body of evidence demonstrated the difficulties inherent in quantifying the risk of HIV transmission, in part due to the role of behavioural and biological co-factors, including viral load and the presence of co-infections, in increasing or decreasing the risk of transmission.
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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.
Should You Get Tested For Hiv If Youre Pregnant
All pregnant women should be tested for HIV so that they can begin treatment if they’re HIV-positive. If a woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low. Testing pregnant women for HIV infection, treating those who are infected, and treating their babies with antiretroviral therapy after delivery have led to a big decline in the number of children born with HIV.
The treatment is most effective for preventing HIV transmission to babies when started as early as possible during pregnancy. If pregnant women are treated for HIV early in their pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to their baby can be 1% or less. However, there are still great health benefits to beginning preventive treatment even during labor or shortly after the baby is born.
Learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners, and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool .
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How Can I Get Tested
To get tested, you can:
- Ask your doctor to test you.
- Go to a local clinic or community health center.
- Go to National HIV and STD Testing Resources to find a testing center near you.
- Buy a test at a pharmacy and do the test at home.
Many testing centers will do an HIV test for free. Ask if there is a fee before you go for testing. In most states you do not need a parent’s permission to get tested for HIV. And you can buy the test at the pharmacy without a parent.
Who Should Be Tested For Hiv And How Frequently
It is recommended that the consideration of HIV testing be made a component of routine care. In general, care providers should take an active approach to HIV testing, offering HIV testing to clients whether or not clients have asked for a test. In the provision of routine medical care, and in discussion with the client, care providers should consider whether there is a benefit to an HIV test.
HIV testing is associated with several advantages:
- a negative test result is an opportunity for clients to take an active role in remaining HIV negative
- the early detection of HIV, especially at the acute stage, can improve outcomes for individuals and prevent further transmission of HIV
- detection at any stage of the disease, prior to wasting and dementia, is an opportunity to initiate lifesaving treatment and other related healthcare services
- opportunities arise for conversations with clients about risk-reduction strategies
2.1.1 Testing recommendations
An in-depth comprehensive HIV behavioural risk assessment is not a requirement for offering an HIV test. An assessment that the client understands how HIV is transmitted, the implications of testing , and how to interpret the test results is sufficient.
For occasions when clients may not be able to accurately estimate their risk, the guide includes more detailed guidance in Appendix B for conducting rapid risk assessments and a more detailed technical review of HIV transmission risks can be found in Appendix C.
2.1.2 Couples testing
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Why Do I Need To Get Tested For Hiv
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get tested.;Many people with HIV dont have any symptoms. In the United States, about 1 in 7;people who have HIV don’t know they have;it.
Even if you dont feel sick, getting early treatment for HIV is important.
- If you dont have HIV , you can take steps to make sure you stay HIV-free.
- If you have HIV , you can take steps to have a healthier future. You can also take steps to protect other people.
Live longer with HIV.
If you have HIV, early treatment can help you live a longer, healthier life. The sooner you get care for HIV, the better.
- Use this tool to find services for people with HIV or AIDS, like housing assistance, health centers, and counseling.
Protect yourself and others.
If you have HIV and you’re;pregnant or thinking about getting pregnant, you can get treatment to;prevent passing HIV to your baby.
Types Of Hiv Tests And Their Window Periods
- Nucleic Acid Test A NAT can usually tell you if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure
- Antigen/Antibody TestAn antigen/antibody test performed by a laboratory on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV infection 18 to 45 days after exposure. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick take longer to detect HIV .
- Antibody TestAn antibody test can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV infection after an exposure. Most rapid tests and self-tests are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid.
Ask your health care provider or test counselor about the window period for the test youre taking and whether you will need a follow-up test to confirm the results. If youre using a self-test, you can get that information from the materials included in the tests package.
If you get an HIV test after a potential HIV exposure and the result is negative, get tested again after the window period. Remember, you can only be sure you are HIV-negative if:.
- Your most recent test is after the window period
- You havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you do have an exposure, then you will need to be retested.
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How Do You Get Hiv
HIV is a sexually transmitted infection. The most common way for someone to get it is through a sexual activity where you exchange bodily fluids. This activity includes vaginal, oral and anal sex. However, you can contract the virus in other ways, including:
- Sharing needles with an infected person to take drugs.
- Passing between a mother and her unborn child.
- Rarely, from a blood transfusion .
A lot of misinformation exists about how you can get HIV. You cannot contract HIV from:
- Air or water.
- Touch, such as shaking hands, hugging or social, closed-mouth kissing.
- Pets or insects, such as mosquitoes and ticks.
For Rna Or 4th Generation Antigen Test
These tests can usually detect HIV within 2 weeks after the infection. RNA/4th generation test are not available for in home use. It is important to see your doctor or health care provider as quickly as you can if you think you have been exposed to HIV. Starting treatment very soon after infection can help one’s health. If you think you may have been infected, get tested right away. This is particularly important if you think you have symptoms that might come from acute HIV .
Challenges In Hiv Testing
4.3.1 HIV Testing in the “window period”
The window period is the time after acquisition of HIV infection when the individual is highly infectious but tests negative on HIV antibody screening because antibodies are not immediately produced. As shown in Figure 4, the timelines associated with the window period have changed with the evolution of more sensitive antibody screening tests. While 1st generation tests detected HIV antibody an average of 60 days following exposure the 4th generation combination tests permit detection of acute HIV infection during the viremic phase. This reduces the window period to approximately 15 to 20 days. Making the diagnosis as early as possible can help prevent onward transmission of the virus, since the person is most infectious during this period. Some jurisdictions provide NAAT testing for high-risk clients , in an effort to identify very early HIV infection.
4.3.2 Indeterminate results during the window period
4.3.3 Confirmatory Testing
The Western Blot assay is not as sensitive as the 3rd and 4th generation screening tests and may yield indeterminate results during the window period. New algorithms employing NAAT as a confirmatory test are currently being evaluated.
Figure 5: Antigen/Antibody detection periods
Figure 5 is a detailed diagram showing the days elapsed, from zero to 360, since the start of HIV infection. The diagram is divided into a sliding scale of four time periods:
4.3.4 Genetic diversity of HIV
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.
Recommendations For Hiv Testing
The purpose of this chapter is to make recommendations on who should be tested for HIV, and at what interval. The chapter also presents recommendations for increasing opportunities to offer HIV testing by integrating HIV testing with testing services for related infections and explores other possible occasions that evidence suggests may be effective in identifying undiagnosed cases. Additional provider and client resources, other HIV testing guidelines, and guidelines for HIV testing in specific contexts are provided in Chapter Five.
How Do Hiv Tests Work
When you get HIV, your immune system makes antibodies that try to fight off the infection. The most common type of HIV test looks for these antibodies in your blood or cells from your cheek.
It usually takes about 3 months for your body to make enough antibodies to show up on an HIV test, but it could be even longer. This time after you first get infected but wont test positive for HIV is called the window period. If you get tested during this time, you can get a negative result even if you do actually have HIV. You also have the biggest chance of giving HIV to other people during the window period.
How Soon After Exposure To Hiv Can Tests Detect I Have The Virus
The window of time between exposure to HIV and when a test will show you have the virus varies from person to person and by the type of test:
- Nucleic acid test : The NAT test can detect HIV infection the earliest. It can tell if you have HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure.
- Antigen/antibody test: The antigen/antibody test can detect infection 18 to 45 days after exposure when performed by a lab using blood from a vein. If the sample is from a finger prick, the window is 18 to 90 days after exposure.
- Antibody test: Antibody tests can detect infection 23 to 90 days after exposure.
If your initial test is negative, get a second test after the window of time has passed. The second test can confirm your negative result in case you got tested before the infection was active in your body.
Remember, post-exposure prophylaxis can help prevent infection, but you must start it within 72 hours of possible infection. Talk to your healthcare provider about how to start PEP.