What Are Hiv Symptoms
HIV infection can cause a flu like illness a few weeks after infection. After this, people living with HIV usually remain symptom free for many years.
However, as their immune system becomes weaker they are less able to fight common infections, which can become serious. People living with HIV are more likely to develop certain cancers, as the immune system plays a role in preventing cancer development.
In its final stage, HIV infection will develop into AIDS. This is when the immune system is so weak that it is unable to fight most infections, so common conditions could become fatal.
Modern HIV treatment is highly effective. Although it cannot cure HIV infection it can keep people well. With the right treatment people who are HIV positive have normal lifespans. HIV treatment also reduces the risk of passing on HIV infection.
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How Effective Are They
No HIV test is 100% accurate, but using one correctly improves the chances of getting an accurate result.
One factor to bear in mind is how much time has passed between the possible exposure and the test, known as the window period.
HIV only becomes detectable on a test after some time has passed. In most cases, a person should only take a home test at least 90 days after possible exposure to the virus.
Tests that use blood from a vein may detect HIV earlier, but these are only available from healthcare providers.
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How Is Hiv Treated
Currently there is no cure for HIV, but there are treatments that enable most people to live a long and healthy life. Most treatments for HIV involve taking antiviral medications. If your result is reactive, our clinicians can answer your questions about potential treatment if a positive result is confirmed.
Where Can I Go For Hiv Testing
You can get tested for HIV and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. You might want to get your HIV test at a place that also has HIV counseling .
You can either get an anonymous” or “confidential HIV test, depending on the laws in the state that you live in. Confidential” testing means your name is on the test, and the results go in your medical records. Your doctors and insurance company may also see the results. If you test positive, your results are sent to your local health department so they know the rates of HIV in your area. But your results are protected by privacy laws, so nobody else can see them without your permission.
“Anonymous” testing means your name isnt on the test. Youll get an ID number that youll use to find out your results. Your results wont go in your medical records, and they wont be sent to your insurance company or the health department youre the only one who will know them.
STD testing, including HIV testing, isnt usually automatically part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it directly. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out what tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: your doctor is there to help, not to judge.
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Taking Antiretroviral Medicines To Treat Hiv
If you are diagnosed with HIV, you will be prescribed antiretroviral medication. It works by stopping the virus from replicating. This protects your immune system from further damage and allows it to repair and strengthen itself.
The HIV virus can easily develop resistance to a single medicine, so for the treatment to be effective it is likely your doctor would prescribe a combination of different antiretroviral tablets.
During your treatment, it is vital that you take your recommended dose every day and that you always attend your HIV clinic appointments. Find out more about what to expect from HIV treatment clinic appointments.
HIV treatment is free to all in the UK regardless of immigration or residency status.
Getting Tested For Hiv
The only way to find out if you have HIV is to have an HIV test.
If you think you have put yourself at risk of HIV, you should seek medical advice and have a test as soon as recommended. The earlier HIV is diagnosed, the earlier you can start treatment and avoid becoming ill.
Emergency anti-HIV medication called PEP may stop you becoming infected, but treatment must be started within three days of coming into contact with the virus.
There are a number of places you can get an HIV test, including your GP surgery and sexual health clinics and clinics run by charities including the Terrence Higgins Trust.
Most HIV tests in the UK involve taking a small sample of blood and sending this to a laboratory for analysis. These tests can provide a reliable result from four weeks after possible infection and results are usually available within a few days. It is also possible to test using a saliva sample or pin-prick test, and many sexual health clinics now use these tests routinely as the result is available within a few minutes and do not need to be sent to the lab. However, these tests do not reliably detect HIV if you have been infected within the past few weeks.
You may get the results in hours, days or weeks, depending on the type of test you take.
If your test is positive, you will be referred to a specialist HIV clinic where youll have more blood tests to show what effect HIV is having on your immune system and be able to discuss treatment options.
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Clinical Indications For Hiv Testing
Individuals requesting an HIV test.
Individuals with symptoms and signs of HIV infection.
Individuals with illnesses associated with a weakened immune system or a diagnosis of tuberculosis.
Unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse or use of shared drug equipment with a partner whose HIV status is known to be positive.
Pregnant or planning a pregnancy and their partners as appropriate.
Victims of sexual assault.
How Often Should You Test For Hiv
Testing at least once a year for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections is good sexual health practice for everyone who is sexually active, even if you know you havent put yourself at risk of infection. Depending on how many different sexual partners you have in any one year, you might want to consider testing more regularly.
Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men should get tested routinely for HIV and other STIs – at least annually or every three months if having sex without condoms with new or casual partners.
Black African men and women should have a regular HIV and STI screen if having sex without condoms with new or casual partners.
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How Hiv Drugs Work
The main treatment for HIV today is antiretroviral medications. These medications suppress the virus and slow its progression in the body. Although they dont eliminate HIV from the body, they can suppress it to undetectable levels in many cases.
If an antiretroviral drug is successful, it can add many healthy, productive years to a persons life and reduce the risk of transmission to others.
- non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors
- entry inhibitors
The drugs listed below have all been approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat HIV.
Planning For Hiv Testing
Providing extended counselling, while preferred, may act as a barrier to testing for both the care provider and the testing client. The considerable resources and time required to conduct extensive risk assessments and pre- and post-test counselling have limited the ability of care providers to offer HIV testing. Behaviour-based risk assessments may also deter individuals from accessing testing, as such practices may involve revealing sensitive personal information. Both providers and clients may feel uncomfortable discussing such topics and, consequently, may avoid testing. The result is “missed opportunities” to diagnose those unaware of their HIV infection and link them with the treatment, care and support they need.
Providing sufficient information and supportive resources in conjunction with HIV testing does not necessarily require expertise in counselling or therapy. The level of support required in any given testing situation is highly dependent on the type of test and the testing client. While some clients may require comprehensive counselling, others may only need an abbreviated discussion supplemented with information resources such as brochures or websites.
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Whats Next If The Test Is Positive
If a person gets a positive result, a qualified lab should retest the sample to make sure it was not inaccurate or have another sample tested. A positive result on a follow-up test means that a person has HIV.
Its recommended that people who test positive for HIV see a healthcare professional as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
A medical professional can get a person with HIV started on antiretroviral therapy right away. This is a medication that helps stop HIV from replicating and can help prevent transmission of HIV to other people.
Its important to use condoms, dental dams, or other barrier methods with any and all sexual partners and refrain from sharing needles while waiting for test results or until the virus becomes undetectable in the blood.
Seeing a therapist or joining a support group, whether in person or online, can help cope with the emotions and health issues that come with an HIV diagnosis. Dealing with HIV can be stressful and difficult to discuss with even the closest friends and family.
Speaking privately with a therapist or being part of a community made up of others with the same medical condition can help a person understand how to lead a healthy, active life after diagnosis.
Testing What Happens In Reality
I asked the smiling young man behind the counter for an HIV test and waited for him to fetch it from the back of the pharmacy. He handed the small blue box to me while I paused for a second, imploring him with my eyes to provide me with this information. But he was already focused on the customer behind me in the queue.
I walked back to my office, pleased with myself, as I had an angle for a story: in practice, at least some pharmacists were not doing what they should.
But after reading through the literature I realised this was a small-minded view and a potentially counterintuitive ask: Why should pharmacists be burdened with counselling patients on the ins and outs of an HIV self-test when the same is not asked for other similarly serious or life-changing conditions for which rapid screening tests are freely available? Take pregnancy or prostate cancer self-tests, for example.
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When Should I Get Tested For Hiv
You are in a risk of infection if you are sexually active, have multiple sexual partners, use intravenous drugs, or have sex with someone who has HIV.
If you are sexually active or notice any symptoms of HIV and come into contact with HIV, we recommend getting tested.
Testing is quick and easy and requires only a small amount of blood. You can have HIV tests carried out with your doctor or the health organisation of the government. If you prefer to test yourself at home in a familiar environment without anyone else, you can order an HIV test kit online.
Who Should Get Tested
Everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 should get tested at least once in their life, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Some people have a higher risk of contracting HIV, according to HIV.gov. Even if youve had a past test, its recommended to get retested if you answer yes to any of the following questions since your last test:
- Are you a man who has had sex with another man?
- Have you had sex anal or vaginal with an HIV-positive partner?
- Have you had more than one sexual partner?
- Have you injected drugs and shared needles or works with others?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for another STI?
- Have you received a diagnosis of or treatment for hepatitis or tuberculosis?
- Have you had sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions, or someone whose sexual history you dont know?
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Different Types Of Tests
Self-tests are usually modified versions of rapid, point-of-care test kits that were originally designed for healthcare professionals. Their processes, packaging and instructions have been simplified so as to guide you through the steps of taking a test.
With some tests, you use a lancet to release a small quantity of blood from a fingerprick. Other tests require a sample of oral fluid, obtained by swabbing an absorbent pad around the outer gums, adjacent to the teeth.
Self-tests may be second- or third-generation HIV tests. They are only able to detect HIV antibodies, whereas the fourth-generation HIV tests which are normally used by healthcare professionals are also able to detect p24 antigen . Fourth-generation tests are therefore better at picking up recent infections.
Second- and third-generation tests can accurately detect chronic HIV infection. But their ability to detect recently acquired HIV is more variable.
Their window periods are a little longer than for other tests. The window period is the time immediately after infection when tests may not detect markers of infection and therefore give a false negative result.
When using a diagnostic test, the probability that a person who does have a medical condition will receive the correct test result .
Insti Hiv1 Hiv2/syphilis Antibody Testfinger Stick Blood Test Completion Procedure
These tests, if positive, require more complex testing follow up.
- Use new lancet for each patient.
- Apply all sterilization protocols
- Don gloves and full PPE
- Clean patient hand. Swab region.
- Lance inside of finger tip following cleaning and massage
- Place lancet in sharps disposal.
- Usual procedures to draw blood with pipette
- Place 50ul blood sample in bottle 1 with red cap
- Shake small bottle
- Then apply solution 1 to membrane
- Shake solution 2 and apply this color developer using coded dropper.
- Shake solution 3 and apply this color clarifier using coded dropper.
- DONE Check results.
- Dispose of membrane as biohazard.
- Results can be as quick as 60 seconds.
- Consult your units medical directives and medical procedure repositories. Watch video.
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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.
Diy Test For Hiv Comes To A Pharmacy Near You
Its as simple and easy as a home pregnancy test, and should be treated similarly, argues Health-e News writer Amy Green who went through the process of self-testing for HIV.
HIV tests can now be bought at local pharmacies.
For R59.95 South Africans can now purchase an HIV testing kit from a local pharmacy and screen themselves for infection in the privacy of their homes effectively by-passing the health system altogether.
Although this seems simple, up until late last year pharmacies were prohibited from selling these products despite overwhelming evidence from multiple countries showing that this testing strategy is an efficient addition to national HIV programmes.
One of the reasons it has taken so long for South Africa to get on board is that many have historically raised concerns about the need for counselling when testing for HIV something that cant really be enforced when testing at home.
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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