Reports credited The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States, show that over 1.1 million people live with HIV and about 56,300 people also get infected yearly by the virus. Some other countries, like South Africa, have a more serious problem with controlling the spread of the virus.Captivating also is the fact that as much as 20% of the population in this infected category live ignorantly as they do not even know they are infected.
Testing and prevention, however, become very important because it helps to create awareness and reduce patients’ mortality and mobility of the powerful virus, thereby preventing future transmission of the disease. One would, therefore, need to start caring earlier by undergoing HIV blood test so as to begin treatment or other medications as the case may be; otherwise be stricter with practicing safe sex and general hygiene.
How does an HIV blood test work?
Human Immunodeficiency Virus blood test has become the most common method of detecting the virus. What the test looks out for are:
- Antigens which are proteins found basically in an HIV cell.
- Antibodies which are made by the body saddled with the responsibility of fighting HIV.
- Other related antigens and antibodies.
It is beneficiary also to know that antigens may be found in the blood in large quantities for just a few weeks after which the infection becomes difficult to detect subsequently. However, antibodies do not operate that way because it takes up to 6 to 12 weeks to still be detected in the blood continuously.
In other words, when these tests are done, it might end up negative which proves that there is no sign of infection while an infection truly exists in the background. Therefore, it is advisable to carry out the test again, weeks later, in order to ascertain the accuracy and authenticity of the prior test.
Reasons to get an HIV blood test – no matter the outcome
- A long time since the last test. If a person’s last HIV blood test was 6 months ago, for instance, he or she is due to undergo another one – most especially if there has been unsafe sex after the last test. The ironic part about it is that the person had a good time, for just a moment, but such great moments have left doubts as to the status which must be proved negative or otherwise by a test.
- Experiencing symptoms of flu. If one has been exposed to this, the tendency of HIV exists, among other medical conditions. A test at this point becomes necessary so as to knock out the fear of HIV and face the other conditions squarely.
- A new relationship. If a person just found someone great and things are getting progressive, one of the best ways to protect themselves is to get tested so as to take necessary steps – or remain faithful strictly.
- Starting a family. Even if a person who intends to start a family is tested positive, it doesn’t stop the person from going ahead because knowing one’s true position would necessitate drugs which would help produce a healthy family devoid of the virus.
- To motivate others. Since not everyone is interested in getting tested, doing the right thing may come in handy. When one does the HIV blood test and educate others on the many advantages, other friends and family might be motivated to go through the process also.
- To prove how important one's health is. People who undergo this blood test prove one basic thing to everyone which is the fact that they attach value to their health. At the test center, a person is advised on what to do for prevention and how to manage the health affairs and live a healthier life even if the result was negative.
- The unfortunate situation of being a rape victim. As part of precautionary measures, HIV blood test, among other tests, should be necessary because one cannot ascertain the health status of the assaulter.
Advantages of HIV Blood Test
- Reduction of negative side effects thereby creating an increase in long-term survival rates. This, of course, can only be achieved if one subjects him/herself to early and consistent test.
- Knowing one is positive means using antiretroviral drugs that help to boost the immune system.
- Being careful, leading to prevention of transmission to another infected person which keeps friends and loved ones safe from the infection.
- Another advantage is that it prevents re-infection because if an already infected person does not go through the test, he continues to contact more infections as the disease grows faster.
HIV blood test is a very good activity for one to engage in so as to ascertain one’s status and when this is done, the right steps would be taken subsequently.
Added to this, people should shield themselves from the virus by using condoms regularly, go for consistent check-ups, create self-awareness, and make people feel confident about having an HIV blood test.