An individual can take an HIV rapid test for early detection of the human immunodeficiency virus or HIV. This test can inform patients if they need to undergo certain types of treatment like the antiretroviral treatment.

Several years ago, patients had to wait for a long time before they could get their test results back. They would have to take a series of tests, send the acquired blood or urine samples to a laboratory that had the right kind of tools and equipment, and follow-up on the findings many times.  Doing all these were what they had to do. However, today things are different.

The United States’ Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or CDC and the Federal Drug Administration of FDA have approved the use of HIV rapid tests to all the citizens of the country between the ages of 13 and 64. It supports the advocacy that people should have the choice to take an HIV test where and when it is convenient for them.

Today, HIV rapid tests are available everywhere --- at any doctor’s clinic, hospitals, and other health institutions. There are even products sold online.

Now, the question that begs to be answered is: “Are they reliable? How accurate are they?”

The rapid tests that you can get at health care clinics and facilities can tell you whether you have HIV or not in less than half an hour. A person from the medical field will be there to help you throughout the process.

The HIV test kits available online, on the other hand, have varying feedbacks from their consumers. Some of them are manufactured by pharmaceutical companies that claim that they are genuine. The test kit comes with a manual where you can read the instructions on how to proceed with the test. Most of these require samples of certain body fluids (urine, saliva, etc.), and you can wait for the result in about a week. If you are uncertain about doing it on your own, you can seek the assistance of a trained medical professional.

Although home test kits have earned varying opinions from people, many still use them because of the privacy they provide the patients. Instinctively, individuals who think they are HIV positive will not want the whole world to know that they have the disease. They want to be spared from all the humiliation and embarrassment of being seen waiting in a hospital corridor to get an HIV test.

HIV, indeed, is something that we should not simply ignore. It is an issue that encompasses a big sector of the society. It has been around for so long now. HIV awareness should be raised so that people will know how and why to prevent it.