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
A Word About Window Periods
The window period refers to the time it takes for HIV to show up in an HIV test. The length of the window period will depend on the type of test you take.
If you feel like you may be at risk of HIV, do not wait, speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. The most important thing is to test.
If you test negative but think you may have been exposed to HIV more recently, you can take another test once the window period has passed.
The picture below shows the window periods for different HIV tests. Some tests can give you an accurate result within four weeks, while others can take three months to be accurate .
A healthcare worker will be able to explain how long the window period is for the test you are taking, and will tell you if they think youll need to test for HIV again.
When You Should Take An Hiv Test
What testing service you should use, and which type of test, depends on when you might have been exposed to HIV. Signs of HIV infection dont show up in the blood right away. It normally happens within four weeks of infection, but can be longer.
If you think you might have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours , its possible to take post-exposure prophylaxis to help stop an infection from happening.
If your risk was recent, then your test provider will probably advise you to take a test immediately, followed by a second one a few weeks later. The second test will pick up any infection the first one may have missed.
If your risk was in the last three months, make sure you tell the person testing you, as it may affect the type of test youre given.
A self test is not guaranteed to pick up an infection thats occurred in the previous three months. If you think youve been exposed in the last three months, you should get a test in person.
Very occasionally it can take up to three months for antibodies to appear in the blood, so an HIV negative result is only totally accurate if three months have passed between the test and the last time a risk was taken. However, a negative result four to eight weeks after taking a risk is a very good sign that HIV infection hasnt happened.
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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 patients 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 patients 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.
Why Is Hiv Testing Important
Knowing your HIV status can help keep youand otherssafe.
If you are HIV negative:
Testing shows that you dont have HIV. Continue taking steps to avoid getting HIV, such as using condoms during sex and, if you are at high risk of getting HIV, taking medicines to prevent HIV . For more information, read the ClinicalInfo fact sheet on HIV prevention.
If you are HIV positive:
Testing shows that you have HIV, but you can still take steps to protect your health. Begin by talking to your health care provider about antiretroviral therapy . People on ART take a combination of HIV medicines every day to treat HIV infection. ART is recommended for everyone who has HIV, and people with HIV should start ART as soon as possible. ART cant cure HIV, but HIV medicines help people with HIV live longer, healthier lives.
A main goal of ART is to reduce a persons viral load to an undetectable level. An undetectable viral load means that the level of HIV in the blood is too low to be detected by a viral load test. People with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partner through sex.
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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.
What Is Hiv Testing
Several types of tests check your blood or other body fluids to see whether you’re infected. Most can’t spot HIV right away, because it takes time for your body to make antibodies or for enough of the virus to grow inside you.
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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
Sexually Transmitted Infection Tests
Rapid testing is available for HIV tests, often at community health centers and clinics. According to Columbia University, these tests most commonly provide results in 10 to 20 minutes. Doctors also use blood tests to test for the presence of conditions such as herpes, hepatitis, and syphilis. These results may take up to one to two weeks.
Be aware that swabs and urine tests may be the preferred method for some STI testing. Results can also take longer if cultures need to be grown.
Some STIs dont show up immediately after theyre transmitted, so your doctor may order a follow-up test a certain period of time after a negative result.
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What Happens If The Tests Come Back As Positive
The primary concern for candidates with the MEPS blood test is if the results show that there is evidence of drug use. Illegal drugs or even alcohol use can eliminate recruits from the candidate pool on a permanent basis. Policies are always open for change and waivers may be available for certain individuals. If positive for marijuana or alcohol, the recruits must wait a minimum of 6 months for a retest. In certain branches of the military, approval for the retest must be given.
If a second test is positive for alcohol or marijuana, then a 24 month waiting period is mandatory for a third test to be approved. A battalion commander is required to provide authority for the second retest. If failure occurs after the third test, then an applicant is permanently disqualified.
Any other drugs require a minimum 1 year waiting period and command authority must give approval for a retest. If the retest results in a second failure, then a candidate is permanently disqualified.
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Whats Next If The Test Is Negative
If a person gets a negative test result and its been more than 3 months since they may have been exposed, they can be fairly certain that they do not have HIV.
If its been less than 3 months since exposure, they should consider taking another HIV test at the end of the 3-month period to be sure. During that time, its best that they use condoms during sex and avoid sharing needles.
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Letting Partners Know You Have Hiv
If you have just been diagnosed with HIV, it will likely be a difficult time. You might still be struggling to come to terms with diagnosis.
During this time, it is important to let any sexual or injecting partners know they may have been exposed to HIV as soon as you can, so they can be tested and offered PEP if appropriate.
You do not have to do this alone. Your doctor or the Department of Health and Human Services Partner Notification Officers can help you through this process and ensure your identity is not revealed.. Both groups can provide information, support, and guidance for people living with HIV.
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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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 Hiv Tests Work
There are two basic ways to get HIV test results:
Laboratory tests. For these tests, a technician will take a sample of your blood and test it. Youâll get results within a few days.
Rapid tests. These tests provide results in around 20 minutes. You can get them done in a community clinic or take them at home.
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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.
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Linkage To Prevention And Care
HIV testing is an important entry point for people into other services, such as HIV care, treatment, and prevention, as well as other services such as harm reduction and housing.
For people who test HIV positive, attempts should be made to ensure they are linked to, engaged in, and retained in HIV care and treatment, as well as to ensure they are linked to information and services related to prevention, to help avoid the onward transmission of HIV.
For people who test HIV negative, but may continue to be at risk of acquiring HIV, attempts should be made to ensure that they are linked to prevention services, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis and risk-reduction counselling, and repeat testing.
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