July 29th, 2011 |
The Final Steps in HIV Testing
Different testing locations have different methods of delivering your HIV test results. Some places require that you make a follow-up appointment to receive your results in person regardless of the diagnosis. Some testing locations can give your results over the phone. But however you learn about your results, your HIV test results can come back one of three ways: positive, negative, or indeterminate. Here’s a brief overview of what you can expect after your HIV test is complete:
HIV Test Results: NEGATIVE
Negative HIV test results are naturally reassuring. Provided that the patient waited the recommended window period for the specific HIV test, the results are very reliable. If a patient tests too early after a potential exposure, the antibodies may not be detectable for an ELISA test or the virus may not be detectable for a PCR test. This can affect the HIV test results and lead to a false negative.
Also, a negative result doesn’t mean a patient is negative forever. Maintaining a safe sexual lifestyle, such as using condoms and practicing mutual monogamy, can reduce the risk of contracting HIV. Furthermore, HIV and STD testing should be administered at least yearly to ensure the patient is still negative.
HIV Test Results: POSTIVE
A positive HIV test result can be shocking and confusing. Counseling is widely available at clinics and doctor’s office to help cope with a positive diagnosis. However, the most important thing to know is that HIV is a highly manageable and treatable disease when diagnosed and treated early. New advances in technology can delay the onset of AIDS or even prevent it. Many people live long, healthy, and active lives with HIV.
HIV Test Results: INDETERMINATE
Indeterminate HIV test results mean that a proper diagnosis could not be made on the sample provided. This could indicate either a false-positive or the HIV test was taken too early and there were not enough antibodies present. A follow-up test should be administered a month after the original HIV test.
July 29th, 2011 |
From Doctor’s Offices to Your Own Home
Finding where to test for HIV is easy. In the United States, HIV testing is widely available through doctor’s offices, hospitals, health clinics, local labs, and public health departments. A home HIV test kit is also a viable option. If you’re wondering where to test for HIV, here’s a quick overview of the different testing locations:
Choosing where to test for HIV can depend on a variety of factors including accuracy, testing options, convenience, or privacy. If accuracy is a concern, any of the aforementioned locations use the highly sensitive, FDA-approved tests. However, the type of HIV test will vary. Some places use blood tests, whereas others use samples from oral fluid. Some locations also used rapid HIV tests and other use standard tests which take a few days for processing.
Convenience is a more subjective and personal factor at play when deciding where to test for HIV. Some people want a location conveniently close to their home while other may need someplace near their work. Certain locations offer the flexibility of walk-in hours, while others require an appointment.
Since taking an HIV test is a very personal matter, privacy is an understandable concern. Certain locations, especially doctor’s offices and hospitals, require all your personal and insurance information. STDtesting.com, an online HIV and STD testing service, offers confidential testing at 4,000 local labs. Testing is quick and accurate, and above all, your privacy is fully protected.
If you still don’t know where to test for HIV, another option is the at-home HIV test, the Home Access HIV-1 Test Kit. This is the only FDA-approved home HIV test on the market. With this kit, patients can discretely test for HIV in their own home and then mail the sample back to the lab. Results are confidentially available over the phone. The at-home HIV test kit is available at STDtesting.com.
July 29th, 2011 |
Guidelines for Routine HIV Testing
The guidelines for when to test for HIV are pretty straightforward. In short, the CDC recommends that all sexually active adolescents and adults take an HIV test at least once a year. Annual HIV testing can be performed quickly and conveniently along with routine STD testing. In fact, some HIV tests only take 20 minutes for results so HIV testing has never been easier.
While everyone should have an annual HIV test administered, certain high risk sub-groups should be screened more often. When to test for HIV varies based on one’s specific behavior, but high risk demographics should test about every three to six months. These groups include the following:
- Men who have sex with other men
- Anyone who has sex for money
- Those engaging in high-risk, sexual behaviors
- Anyone who may have been exposed to HIV
- IV drug users
Those wondering when to test for HIV after a potential exposure must wait enough time for antibodies to develop. Experts recommend waiting three months after an exposure for the most accurate results. If you are testing with a PCR test, accurate results can be obtained as early as 10 days post-exposure.