What Does Your HIV Test Result Mean?
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2016, 40% of people living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) did not know that they had HIV, this is generally due to the fact that they do not go for checkups, as well as the inability to withstand the stigma and trauma that are associated when tested positive.
This is because some parts of the world still categorize HIV patients as persons that should be avoided so as not to get infected with the deadly virus. Some even go as far as holding beliefs which include not sharing the same sits with an HIV patient or sleeping in the same room with them. The importance of HIV test results would be looked into with its relevance to the world at large.
How long does it take to get an HIV test result?
It is germane to point that result from antibody tests are transported to a lab which usually takes 1 to 3 days before return. If the test is positive, there is a tendency that the test results may be deferred while the laboratory does what is called a Western Blot to ascertain that HIV antibody is present.
The accuracy of HIV Tests Result
We must admit that modern HIV tests are extremely accurate which can be primarily attributed to the new trends of modern technology which is fast paving ways for the possibilities of these tests to be conducted. There are varieties of HIV tests which translates to the responsibility of a healthcare worker to explain which test one would be given and how one will get his/her result.
The normal practice is that testing involves taking a small sample of blood from either the finger or the arm, or a sample of oral fluid from the person who intends to get tested.
The period of time an HIV test takes to give one an accurate result depends on the type of test one is engaging in. If one is engaging in a rapid test, the result will be given within 20 minutes after the test would have been conducted.
The relevancy of HIV Test Results
When one becomes infected with HIV, the body will start to produce specific antibodies (proteins that attack the virus and try to destroy it). This HIV antibody test looks for these antibodies in the blood, saliva, or urine. If these antibodies are discovered, it simply means that one is infected with HIV. It is important to add at this juncture that this test is only accurate three months after exposure because this is how long it takes the body to produce enough antibodies for it to show up in a test.
It is true that knowing your HIV status gives you an edge to helping you take steps which keeps you and your partner healthy, and that is the why HIV test results are relevant in the following ways:
- If an individual test positive, he or she can take medicine to treat HIV and stay healthy for many years and greatly reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to his or her sex partner.
- If a test result is negative, such an individual has more prevention tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before which includes the use of condoms, sole use of sharp objects and adequate medical diligence before blood transfusion.
- If in the event that a woman is pregnant, she should be tested for HIV so that she can begin treatment if she is HIV positive. If an HIV positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby is very low.
As a result of the window period, it is advised that one should get tested every three to six months. This window period is the time between when one gets infected with HIV and when the body starts making antibodies to fight off the virus. It is necessary to add also that if one gets tested during this period, the result could show that the person is HIV negative.
Since antibodies usually become detectable at about 4 to 6 weeks after infection, it is advised to carry out the tests with this period in mind.
In light of this, there no doubts about the fact that an HIV test result is important, but the stigma attached to it can go a long way in discouraging people because of the dogmas about HIV-positive patients. Be that as it may, the discovery of being positive with HIV is one of the best first steps towards the management of the virus.
Medical sciences in the world today have provided many forms of antiretroviral drugs which would come in handy for the management of HIV. Practically, HIV patients have even been said to live a healthier life compared to uninfected people because of the great care they exercise daily.