Regardless if you have active sexual life or not, you should still undergo HIV testing. It is a must for women to be tested against HIV to find out their HIV status at least once in a while (every 3 to 5 years). However, if you fall in any of these categories below, make sure to be getting HIV testing regularly.
- You have multiple sexual partners
- You engage in unprotected sex with different partners
- You have injected drugs in the past
- You had exchanged sex for money in the past
- You had a bisexual partner in the past
- You have sexually transmitted infection in the past
- If you donated blood or had a blood transfusion in the past especially between the years of 1978 and 1985.
Importance of HIV testing
HIV testing is not for women with active sexual life only, it is for everyone. Knowing your HIV status is important because:
- People don’t know that they are infected until they get tested
- Treating HIV is more effective if done as early as possible
- Treating HIV infection at an early stage means stopping the infection from turning into AIDS
Common HIV tests conducted in Women
AT or Antibody Test – this test seeks to find if the body is producing antibodies that fight HIV infection. This antibody starts to appear within 2 weeks up to 3 months since exposure happened. Instead of finding the virus, this test will determine if the body has been producing antibodies that are trying to fight the virus. The type of antibody tests are:
Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) –this test is a newer type of antibody test and the result can be seen within a day.
RT or Rapid test – this test give results within 20 minutes. The test uses fluid from the mouth but a confirmatory blood test is still needed once the result is positive.
HAT or Home access test – if you want to do the test at home, you can do so with HAT or a home access test kit. Using your kit, you can take your own blood sample and send it to the lab for the result. The result can be mailed back to you in the next few days.
Why do women still get infected with HIV?
Despite knowing what needs to be done and knowing the risks they are facing, there are still women out there who continue to get involved with different partners without protection. Oftentimes, they are afraid to seek treatment because of the stigma, afraid to ask their doctors for advice or afraid to ask their partners about their health status before engaging to sexual activities in fear that it will spoil everything. This should change now because untreated HIV can develop into AIDS and AIDS can be transmitted to unborn babies. As women, it is our duty to watch out for our body including the future life that we are about to produce. If you know your partner is at risk, have him tested. If you think you are at risk, get tested!