Testing for HIV

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Testing for HIV has become routine screening in primary healthcare around the world. It joins the other routine tests such as; Hepatitis B, Syphilis, Tuberculosis, STs, Chagas as well as others infectious diseases.

  • Being HIV-positive does not mean you have AIDS. AIDS is the most advanced stage of the HIV disease. Proper treatment can keep you from developing AIDS.
  • Window period refers to the time between you get infected and your boy starts to response with antibodies. Testing during this time can result negative, though if one is highly sure about the risk that has incurred, one should get tested again in 3-6 months.
  • Ages between 13-24 continues to be the ones with high incidence
  • The sooner one takes steps to protect their health, the better. Early treatment with antiretroviral drugs and a healthy lifestyle can help a HIV+ person stay well. Prompt medical care prevents the onset of AIDS and some life-threatening conditions.
  • HIV is considered a chronic condition rather than a deadly one.
  • Individuals test results are protected by laws. They can only be released with permission.
  • Whether to share, or disclose, the status to others is ones own decision

The CDC recommends that healthcare providers test everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 at least once as part of routine healthcare. One in eight people in the United States who have HIV do not know they are infected.

According to the CDC, behaviors that put you at risk for HIV include having vaginal or anal sex without a condom or without being on medicines that prevent or treat HIV, or sharing injection drug equipment with someone who has HIV.

You should also get tested if

  • You have been sexually assaulted.
  • You are a woman who is planning to get pregnant or who is pregnant.

Explaining HIV tests:

The most common HIV test is the antibody screening test (immunoassay), which tests for the antibodies that your body makes against HIV. It may be performed on blood or oral fluid (not saliva). Because the level of antibody in oral fluid is lower than it is in blood, blood tests tend to find infection sooner after exposure than do oral fluid tests. In addition, most blood-based lab tests find infection sooner after exposure than rapid HIV tests.

Several tests can detect both antibodies and antigen (part of the virus itself). These tests can find recent infection earlier than tests that detect only antibodies. These antigen/antibody combination tests can find HIV as soon as 3 weeks after exposure to the virus, but they are only available for testing blood, not oral fluid.

The rapid test is an immunoassay used for screening, and it produces quick results, in 30 minutes or less.

RNA tests detect the virus directly (instead of the antibodies to HIV) and thus can detect HIV at about 10 days after infection—as soon as it appears in the bloodstream, before antibodies develop. These tests cost more than antibody tests and are generally not used as a screening test

Follow-up diagnostic testing is performed if the first immunoassay result is positive. Follow-up tests include: an antibody differentiation test, which distinguishes HIV-1 from HIV-2; an HIV-1 nucleic acid test, which looks for virus directly, or the Western blot worldAidsor indirect immunofluorescence assay, which detect antibodies. Follow-up testing allows you and your health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.

Currently there are also, two home HIV tests.

Fore more information please visit:https://www.aids.gov/hiv-aids-basics/

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