Testing for HIV
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Anyone who has an active sex life should get tested for HIV. Watch this video to learn about testing for HIV.
Transcript: Before a person becomes sick with the potentially deadly disease known as AIDS, he or she must first...
Before a person becomes sick with the potentially deadly disease known as AIDS, he or she must first be infected with the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV. This virus is spread through the sharing of blood, breast milk, semen, and vaginal secretions. While anyone can contract HIV, some people have a higher risk than others. These include, people who have unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with multiple partners ...People who have injected sex with shared equipment, such as needlesPeople who have been diagnosed with another sexually transmitted disease, hepatitis, or tuberculosis... ...And anyone who has had sex with a partner who engaged in these acts. Men who have sex with men and people who have unprotected heterosexual contact make up 79 percent of new HIV cases, so these groups in particular should be tested regularly. When a person contracts HIV, his or her immune system starts to produce antibodies against the virus to ward off infection. Although these antibodies are not effective in fighting HIV, it is their presence in the blood that results in a positive HIV test. This test can be conducted at an STD clinic, a government funded HIV testing site, a hospital, or a doctor's office. The screen can be done in a number of ways, but the most common is a conventional blood test. In this case, a sample is drawn by a health care provider and sent to a lab for screening. A similar HIV test involves an oral fluid sample which is swabbed from the inside of the mouth before being tested. A slightly less accurate method involves a urine sample. In all three of these tests, results should arrive within two weeks, and a positive test must be followed up by a confirmatory one. This guards against the risk of a false positive. For individuals who are in need of very quick results, a rapid test is also available. In a rapid test, a blood or oral sample is collected and tested immediately in a lab. The results are available in as little as ten minutes. No matter the type of test, the procedure can be very scary, and for this reason, many testing centers provide counseling. If you'd rather not get tested in public, you have another option: home testing. It's important to know that only ONE home testing kit is approved by the FDA, the Home Access HIV-1 Test System. A home testing kit allows a person to prick his or her finger, place drops of blood on a special card, and mail the card into a lab. An HIV test can be scary, but a negative result will put your mind at ease. If your HIV test is positive, you have just taken an important first step on the road to treatment.More »
Last Modified: 2013-10-21 | Tags »
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