‘HIV is an enduring ailment, but you can still live happily with it by developing a strong will’.
No need to be upset or scared, even if your doctor recommends you for an HIV test! Definitely, it is an incurable ailment, but you can still survive with it by availing proper medication, adequate treatment, and staying happy. Reading this article will not only educate you about this illness but will also inform you about types of HIV test and when you should get them done.
HIV is an abbreviated form of ‘Human immunodeficiency Virus’, which is the same virus that leads AIDS. It is an initial stage of AIDS and the test for same, detects a person with this infection, how long it is suffering from the infection and presently he is at which stage.
Importance of the Testing
By being sure about your infection status can keep you, as well as others around you safe from meeting the infection.
If your HIV test results positive
If the test confirms you with the illness then it does not mean the end of your life. You can still take precautionary steps to protect your health and live more years. You can initiate with the Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) that involves medicating a patient for treating HIV infection. People undergoing this medication are required to consume a combination of medicines on a regular basis. It is an effective treatment process that helps individuals with this disease to live longer years and it decreases the danger of sexual transmission of the infection.
If your test results negative
If your HIV test is negative then it is an excellent news and confirms that you are not an HIV patient. However, this does not imply that you are save throughout your life! Rather, it requires you to take preventive measures to combat the ailment so that you do not meet the disease anytime in your life.
Who all should go for an HIV test?
As per the guidelines of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, every individual falling between ages of 13 to 64 years must go for this testing. It is because such individuals are at a higher risk of meeting the infection. Some major factors that boost the danger of HIV infection are:
- Sharing infected needles, syringes; injecting drugs with an infected needle
- Having sex without proper protection with an HIV-infected person
- Already suffering from tuberculosis or hepatitis
- Meeting sexually transmitted disease (STD), like syphilis
- Having physical relations with more than one individual at same point of time
In any above situation, you need to talk to your health care provider to confirm how often you should take the test.
Types of HIV Tests
Rapid HIV Test – This type of test is useful for regular testing and is for those who want instant results from their evaluation. Such a test deliver results in few minutes after testing the blood specimen. The accuracy level of the test is as high as that of a Standard test and if in case, an individual tests negative then he no more have to go for further evaluations.
Standard Testing – This testing methodology is suitable for routine evaluation or during situations when there is unavailability of the Rapid test. The only difference between a Standard examination and a Rapid testing process is that it delivers results after four to five days of the completion of the process.
Early Detection – This evaluation is meaningful if you have met with a recent incident, such as, exposure to HIV or having unprotected relation with your partner. This form of HIV test cuts the duration of the window period and one can get the test done only after 10 to 12 days of suspecting the infection. This examination checks for the presence of the virus causing the infection. It implies that the test can deliver you accurate results when you are within the window period.
HIV Antibody Test – It is the most popular screening test that examines the antibodies in urine, blood, saliva, and other fluids of the mouth. Antibodies are proteins that the body generates to fight against diseases like this infection. The time duration from which the person infected with the disease, until it produces enough antibodies against HIV is window period. Most of the times, such antibodies are generated within every 3 months in a person who has met with the infection. For this reason, it is advisable for a patient suffering from this disease to get the test done in every 3 months.
HIV antigen test – Such a HIV test can detect the antibody as well as antigen in blood. This test can detect the presence of the ailment much before than the antibody test.
Others tests following the HIV examination
People with positive results should opt for a second test. A second test helps in confirming the ailment. Some types of analysis following the infection test procedure are:
- HIV – 1 nucleic acid test that detects directly for this infection
- Antibody differentiation test that differs from the HIV 1 and 2 form
- Indirect immunofluorescence or Western Blot assay that examines the presence of antibodies
Testing the Infection in ‘Pregnant Women’
As per the CDC guidelines, every pregnant woman should undergo a test for this infection as an early detection can avoid passing the disease to the child. Even woman who is planning pregnancy can go for an HIV test in advance.
If in case, a pregnant woman suffers from the disease then she should start with the medications on an immediate basis. It is essential to reduce the risk of transmission to the child and to make sure that the entire pregnancy duration is free from complications.
Home Testing Kit for HIV Test
If you suspect of having HIV but are afraid of revealing its presence then you can opt for the most confidential way of testing, that is, home testing kit. For home use, two types of test are performed. The first type is the home collection kit during which a person has to prick his finger for collecting a blood sample. The sample is send to the lab for testing. You can obtain the results in few days. If the test results positive then the individual has to go with all follow-up evaluations.
You can also opt for the other type of home-testing solution that tests a tube and stick. A test stick is used to swab the gums to collect a sample of oral liquids. For getting adequate results, the test stick is inserted into the tube and then the results are revealed in just 20 minutes. In case the test is positive then it must be confirmed again by doing additional tests for the infection.
In both situations, one needs to visit the laboratory for availing the HIV test results by an expert and experienced health practitioner.
Can HIV Testing be Confidential!
Yes, you can procure confidential testing, but this does not imply that one will not mark results by your name. Rather, such type of testing implies that your test results will include your name and identify all the information, but only people informed by you, will be able to know and analyze your medical records and test results. You can send your positive HIV test result reports to the government or state health departments for adding them in the medical records. In such situation, the concerned departments do not include your personal information, such as your name, age, and other elements. The center does not shares such information with other organizations or testing units.
Besides confidential testing, you can also go for Anonymous testing procedure, where you do not have to provide your name, and you can straight away go for an HIV test. While getting the analysis done, you are provided with a number and your results are explained as per that number. In this case, the number acts as your identity and all your medical records and results are stored and shared based on the provided number.
From where to get the HIV Test done
If you are seeking the assistance of a health care provider, then definitely he can guide you about the same. If but, you intend to perform the HIV test by your own and want to check its confirmation then you can get it done from various units like:
- Clinical centers operated by charitable institutions
- Young people and contraception clinics
- Local drug store offering testing services
- Private clinics that require you to pay some amount for the testing
- Genitourinary medicine clinics or sexual health centers
- An antenatal center, if in case you are pregnant
What can you expect during testing?
The HIV test is not very painful, but yes, you need to be mentally strong and should not feel nervous. The testing process is simple and the practitioner will either collect your blood sample, or gather oral fluids from your mouth, or will ask for both. If your HIV test results negative, but you still encounters trouble then you may get the test done again after next 3 months. However, if the test is positive then your health counselor will talk about it and educate you about the further treatment process.