An HIV test tells you if you are infected with HIV, the human immunodeficiency virus. It attacks and weakens your immune system and can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, AIDS. Rapid tests can in less than 20 minutes to give an answer to the big question. HIV testing is key to slowing the spread of the virus.
What is HIV?
HIV is a contagious and currently incurable disease. It gradually disrupts the immune system and affects the appearance of various diseases that do not occur in otherwise healthy people due to the good role of immunity. A person infected with HIV usually does not feel sick and can pass for years without any symptoms.
AIDS is caused by HIV, but from the moment of HIV infection to the onset of AIDS often takes up to 10 years. AIDS is a condition in which the immunity is so weak that a number of specific diseases occur that we do not see in immunologically healthy people.
HIV is most often transmitted through unprotected sex, blood, the use of the same needles and syringes when taking drugs intravenously, and from mother to unborn child in pregnancy. Early diagnosis often results in earlier treatment with drugs that can delay the development of AIDS. Using the sti test kit is important in this case.
Who should be tested?
Consider testing if you are:
- Have unprotected vaginal, oral or anal sex with multiple people or with an anonymous partner,
- A man who has sex with men,
- Use drugs (including steroids, hormones or silicones) intravenously,
- You have tuberculosis or a sexually transmitted disease (such as hepatitis or syphilis) or
- Had unprotected sex with someone who falls into any of the above categories.
Also, get tested if you are sexually abused or pregnant. HIV testing is especially important for pregnant women because they can transmit the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. Testing once a year is recommended if you are at high risk of infection.
Types of tests
There are several types of tests. Some tests reveal the virus, that is, its genetic structure, and others antibodies created to the virus in a blood sample.
Tests that detect antibodies to the virus are not accurate immediately after infection because it takes three to six months after exposure to the virus for the body to produce a counter- body. Testing is performed on a blood sample or by swabbing cells from the inside of the cheek. Urine samples can also be tested, but they have been shown to be a less accurate indicator.
Regardless of the type of test used, a positive result will require additional testing to diagnose HIV. If both tests are positive, it means you are HIV-positive. You will wait for the results from a few days to a couple of weeks; although today’s rapid HIV tests can produce accurate preliminary results in about 20 minutes.
Early detection of HIV
Some tests can detect HIV infection before counter- bodies can be detected in standard tests. These tests use a blood sample to look for the genetic material of a virus or protein that develops in the first few weeks after infection. Such tests may be less available and more expensive than standard testing. They are also followed by additional anti-body testing to confirm the results.