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.
Should I Get Tested For Hiv
According to the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, get tested for HIV if you are:
- Older than 15. All women and girls older than 15 need to be tested at least once.
- Pregnant. Every pregnant woman should have an HIV test as early as possible in the pregnancy. You need to get tested even if you have been tested before. Also, consider getting tested for HIV if you plan to get pregnant.
Some women with HIV don’t know they have it, because HIV may not cause symptoms for several years. Even if HIV causes no symptoms, it is still causing problems with your body’s immune system that need to be treated as soon as possible.
Some women who test negative assume their partners must be HIV-negative too. But your HIV test reveals only your status, not your partner’s.
Who Should Get Tested
Anyone can become infected with HIV regardless of:
- Sexual orientation or
- Race or ethic origin.
Knowing if you have HIV means you can seek treatment and protect your partner or partners. If HIV is present in your body, you can pass it on to other people even if you feel perfectly healthy.
If you get tested and you do not have HIV, you can protect yourself from future infection.
It is important that you get tested for HIV early, before you become sick. Many people who are diagnosed early and take their medication can live healthy lives.
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Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
- Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
- Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.
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.
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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.
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.
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The Hiv Antibody/antigen Test Checks Whether Or Not You Test Positive For Hiv
This HIV test checks a sample of your blood for antibodies against HIV Antibodies are produced by your immune system when youâre exposed to a virus, like HIV. Tests that only measure antibodies can take 23-90 days to detect an HIV infection after an exposure. This HIV test can usually detect an HIV infection in only 18-45 days after exposure because it also checks for HIV p24 antigens in the blood. Tests that are both an HIV antigen test and an HIV antibody test are often referred to as 4th generation HIV tests.
In the event that your HIV test results are abnormal, an associate from our physician network will contact you directly to discuss your particular case as well as provide information on how to take the next steps to get treatment. We take customer privacy very seriously and will never share your information with a third-party with the exception of the lab we use to test your sample and our physician network. As is the case with all HIV testingâwhether through Everlywell or your doctorâwe are required by law to report positive test results to state health departments. These reports of infection are confidential and used by state health departments and the CDC as a means of disease surveillance to inform disease prevention activities.
Good News For Privacy
Private STD testing services are aware of this concern and have gone to great lengths to make sure privacy is not an issue. For example, youll notice that these services employ highly capable safeguards on their website, including industry-standard encryption protocols. Many companies will also allow you use an entirely unidentifiable digital code that you can use instead of your name.
Reputable and reliable STD testing services are fully compliant with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability ACT . This act ensures that your private information is protected from any unsolicited access and gives you the right to decide who can access your private health data.
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Other Factors Influencing Hiv Transmission Risk
Within each route of transmission, estimates of the risk of transmission vary widely, likely due to the role of behavioural and biological co-factors. Viral load appears to be an important predictor of transmission, regardless of route of transmission. However, the evidence indicates that viral load is not the only determinant, and other co-factors, such as the presence of co-infections, play a role in increasing or decreasing the risk of transmission.
The strongest predictor of sexual transmission of HIV is plasma viral load . A dose-response relationship has been observed, where each ten-fold increase in plasma VL resulted in an increased relative risk of transmission of 2.5 to 2.9 per sexual contact. The concentration of HIV in genital secretions also plays a major role in sexual transmission. While there is a strong correlation between HIV concentrations in plasma and in genital secretions, some studies have found genital tract HIV shedding in 20% to 30% of men and women without detectable plasma viral load. Much of what is known about the impact of viral load on the sexual transmission of HIV is derived from studies of heterosexual populations. Very little is known about the relationship between HIV viral load and rate of transmission through anal intercourse.
Who Should Get Tested For Hiv
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that everyone 13 to 64 years old get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. As a general rule, people at higher risk for HIV should get tested each year. Sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from getting tested more often, such as every 3 to 6 months.
Factors that increase the risk of HIV include:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who is HIV positive or whose HIV status you dont know
- Injecting drugs and sharing needles, syringes, or other drug equipment with others
- Exchanging sex for money or drugs
- Having hepatitis or tuberculosis
- Having sex with anyone who has any of the HIV risk factors listed above
Talk to your health care provider about your risk for HIV and how often you should get tested for HIV.
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Hiv And Aids Tests At Walgreens
HIV and AIDS tests you perform at home look for antibodies to the HIV virus inside your body. This is the virus that causes AIDS. The HIV virus attacks immune cells that help your body fight off infection. Over time this can weaken your immune system and make it harder to avoid illness. Home HIV and AIDS tests can tell you whether you’ve been exposed to the HIV virus so you can get medical treatment and avoid exposing others.
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.
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Where To Get Tested For Stds
These days, testing for STDs or STIs is hardly an issue, as the rise of privately-owned STD testing centers and services has created new standards and practices that make testing private, affordable, fast and reliable. Generally, these private STD testing services will send a discreetly packaged home kit to your doorstep. This package will include all the different tests youve ordered, along with simple-to-follow instructions on how to perform each test. At the same time, its important to remember that some tests, namely those that require a larger blood samples, will require you to physically visit the lab or clinic but dont worry, todays testing services employ thousands of private testing locations across the country.
Is Hiv Testing Necessary For Pregnant Women
HIV testing is critically important for pregnant women. HIV testing is recommended at the beginning of each pregnancy during prenatal care. If any HIV risk factors are present or there is a high incidence of HIV in the population, testing should be repeated in the third trimester. There have been enormous advances in the treatment of HIV-infected pregnant women. With proper management, the probability of transmitting the virus to the fetus is less than 2%. Without proper management, the risk of transmission is as high as 33%. Because undiagnosed HIV is so common, it is necessary to test all pregnant women. It is strongly recommended that all children born to women with HIV also be tested.
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How Soon After Exposure To Hiv Can An Hiv Test Detect If You Are Infected
No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after infection. If you think youve been exposed to HIV, in the last 72 hours, talk to your health care provider about post-exposure prophylaxis , right away.
The time between when a person gets HIV and when a test can accurately detect it is called the window period. The window period varies from person to person and also depends upon the type of HIV test.
How Does A Person Get Hiv
HIV can only be passed by these five body fluids:
- vaginal fluid
- breast milk
HIV can be passed when one of these fluids from a person with HIV gets into the bloodstream of another personthrough broken skin, the opening of the penis or the wet linings of the body, such as the vagina, rectum or foreskin. HIV cannot be passed through healthy, unbroken skin.
The two main ways that HIV can be passed are:
- through sex
- by sharing needles or other equipment to inject drugs
HIV can also be passed:
- to a fetus or baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
HIV cannot be passed by:
- shaking hands, working or eating with someone who has HIV
- hugs or kisses
- swimming pools, toilet seats or water fountains
- insects or animals
Since November 1985, all blood products in Canada are checked for HIV, to ensure that it is safe to get a blood transfusion. And there is no chance of getting HIV from donating blood.
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What Types Of Hiv Tests Are Available
HIV tests look for either HIV antibodies , both antibodies and antigens , or genetic material from the virus.
Which test you take depends on how recently you think you may have been exposed to HIV, how long you want to wait for results, and where you take the test.
Nucleic Acid Test : 10 to 33 Days After an ExposureAntibody/Antigen Test: 18 to 45 Days After an Exposure Antibody Test:23 to 90 Days After an Exposure:
What Does The Test Measure
HIV tests detect the presence of the HIV virus, HIV antigens, and/or HIV antibodies. If these substances are detected, the test returns a positive result for HIV.
There are three types of HIV tests available:
- Antibody test: Antibodies are produced by the body after an HIV infection. It can take weeks for the body to produce antibodies, so HIV antibody tests can only detect HIV from 3 to 12 weeks after infection.
- Antigen/antibody test: Antigens are foreign substances that activate an immune response. Antigens appear before the body produces antibodies, so HIV antigen/antibody tests can detect an HIV infection earlier than antibody tests, within 2 to 4 weeks of becoming infected.
- HIV viral load test: An HIV viral load test looks for the quantity of HIV virus in the blood. In addition to detecting an HIV infection, viral load testing can also detect how much of the virus is in the blood. Although this type of testing can detect an HIV infection earlier than other HIV tests, its very expensive and is typically only used when someone has symptoms or a possible exposure to HIV.
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How Do Std Home Kits Work
Home STD tests work by allowing you to discreetly provide your sample, whether blood, urine or genital swab and then send your samples back in a postage-paid box to be tested. The laboratory process is similar to whats done when you get tested for STDs in other settings, such as doctors offices, but home test kits most often provide you with your results via an online account as opposed to in-person tests in which its common not to see your actual results unless you have tested positive.
How Does Hiv Testing At Home Work
You can use the EverlyWell at-home HIV test to screen for HIV from the privacy of your home. Hereâs how it works:
Order the at-home HIV test . The kit will then be shipped to your address .
Register your kit online using the unique ID, then follow the instructions in the kit to collect your sample.
Place your sample in the biohazard bag, slip the bag into the envelope thatâs included with the kit, and apply the prepaid shipping label . This allows you to easily ship your sample to the lab for testing.
After the lab analyzes your sample, youâll be notified that your test results are readyâand youâll be able to view your results on our secure, online platform.
If your HIV test results do come back positive, share your results with your healthcare provider as soon as possible to learn the next steps for treatment. Your healthcare provider may give you HIV treatment . Studies show benefits when people start ART sooner rather than later after they are diagnosed with HIV. By working with your healthcare provider to manage your HIV, it is possible to remain healthy for many years.
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Why Testing Is Important
If you’re carrying the HIV virus, early treatment can keep you healthy longer. Treating HIV infection early may slow down damage to the immune system and may help prevent or delay some of the life-threatening infections people with AIDS can develop. By knowing your HIV status, you can also take steps to avoid spreading the virus to other people.
The HIV virus is transmitted from person to person through sexual contact and contact with blood from an infected person. It can also be passed to an unborn baby through pregnancy, childbirth and breast-feeding. You can carry the HIV virus and not have symptoms initially. That’s why testing is so important. Some experts believe everyone should get tested for HIV at least once.