HIV Testing Information
HIV Testing refers to a test that indicates whether a person has the HIV virus or not. HIV or Human Immunodeficiency virus affects humans of all ages, gender, and sexual orientation. At its most advanced stage, HIV is known as AIDS. A HIV test will tell is a person has the virus but will not show for how long they have had it. The test will also not tell if a person has reached the advanced stage, AIDS.
The Importance of HIV Testing
Getting tested for HIV is an important step for everyone. This is because knowing your status will allow you to live a better life. If you are positive, you start taking HIV treatment medication. If you are negative, you can live a safer sexual life.
If you test negative, it means that the test did not find the HIV virus in your system. It is important to test again after 3 months. This gives you a good chance to start practicing safe sex to prevent infection. If you do engage in high-risk activities, using PrEP and PEP might be a good idea. These are medications that help in reducing the chances of getting infected with the virus.
If you happen to get positive results, it means you have the HIV virus in your body. This does not mean that it is the end of your life. With proper treatment and diet, you can live a comfortable life full of happiness. The treatment starts with the use of antiretroviral therapy, also referred to as ART. This involves the use of different medications that fight the virus. With this therapy, people living with HIV can live a long healthy life. Proper treatment also reduces the risk of infection others since the virus will be suppressed. It’s important to talk to your doctor before you start the therapy for a better prescription.
Who Should Get A HIV Test?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recommends that anyone between the age of 13 and 64 should get a HIV test regularly. This is especially the case for sexually active people. Testing is important if you engage in high-risk activities. The following are some of the elements that increase the transmission risk:
- Sharing drug injection tools such as syringe, needles, and razors among others.
- Having STDs
- Having tuberculosis or hepatitis
- Exchanging sex for money or drugs (commercial sex workers)
- Having a unprotected vaginal or anal sex with people without knowing their HIV status
- Engaging in sexual activities with a person with any of the risks above.
It is important to talk to a health care professional about the risks you face and how often you will need to test for the virus.
HIV Testing During Pregnancy
It is highly recommended that all pregnant women get a HIV test. This is to make sure that they know their status. If they test positive, they can start taking HIV medication. This will help in reducing the chances of mother-to-child infection during pregnancy and during delivery.
HIV Tests Available
There exist three main HIV tests. You can either choose the antibody, antigen/antibody, or the NATs or nucleic HIV tests. These tests vary in the speed they can detect the HIV virus and they have different window periods.
- NATs: These are quite expensive and specifically look for the virus in the patient’s blood.
- Antigen/antibody HIV tests: The test is aimed at detecting the antibodies that fight the HIV virus and the antigens which are part of the HIV virus.
- Antibody HIV testing: These detect the antibodies that are present in the blood or in the oral fluids
In most cases, the HIV tests available are the antibody and the antibody/antigen tests.
Confidential Or Anonymous HIV Test
When getting a HIV test, you can choose to have it confidential or anonymous. This will depend on the level of privacy you want with your results.
Confidential HIV testing means that the results will have identifying details such as name and will be in your medical records. This also means that the results will be in local and state health department record and statistical data. Though your infection will form part of the statistics at the CDC, the information will not contain your personal details. This will exist without sharing with other organization
This kind of test will not require you to provide your name. Instead of your name, you will get a number. To get your results, you will need to present this number. This means that your name will not be in the local and state reports regardless of what they will be.
Places One Can Get HIV Testing
Most health care provides can give HIV tests. There are many clinics, health centers and hospitals that offer HIV tests. US citizen can easily find a testing center using the testing locator by the CDC.
HIV Testing Conclusion
It is crucial to know your HIV status. This gives you a chance to adjust your lifestyle depending on the results. If you test negative, you can take precautions to avoid the infection. If you test positive, you can start using the antiretroviral therapy and live a long healthy life. You can also join a HIV dating site such as Meet Positives if you want to date without judgment and risk of spreading the virus.