If you are infected with HIV and you get tested immediately, the effect can be big for you and your loved ones. Being diagnosed early means that your chance of living a higher quality of life is better and that your life expectancy will be longer. It will also mean that your HIV treatment can become a regular routine of your life (no more rushing to the ER just take maintenance medication).
Since HIV testing has now improved and it can be done at home, there is no reason for someone infected with HIV to be waiting for years before getting tested. Today, at least 1 out of 6 people doesn’t know that they have AIDS and still actively engage in sex, infecting even their partners. This can be prevented if everyone who knew that they are at risk would just take HIV test.
Who should get HIV test?
Think of it this way, HIV testing is part of our way of taking care of ourselves. It is like having vaccinations or taking vitamins. We knew we are not sick but there is a chance that we can get sick hence we take vitamins or we take vaccines. Now, if you are someone who is at risk of getting any sexually transmitted disease such as HIV among others, then there is more reason for you to get tested.
The HIV test
The common HIV tests on the market today are for testing the antibodies that the body produce to fight HIV infection. Once the test result is positive, it means that the body is producing antibodies that are fighting HIV infection.
There is a new HIV test though that can try to check the body for HIV virus. RNA test or the test that looks for HIV virus costs more than a regular or traditional HIV test. The advantage of RNA test is that it can be done within 2 weeks since you got exposed to someone infected with HIV. Unlike the traditional HIV tests that detect antibodies, a 2 weeks window to determine if you are HIV positive or not is a big thing in terms of treatment. The traditional antibody test for HIV can be done after three months since you got exposed. This is called the window period or the time needed for the antibodies to show up. It means that you have to wait for three months before you get tested whereas the virus could have spread already.
How is the test being done?
HIV tests for antibodies can be done in different ways such as through blood and oral swab sampling. A urine test is also possible but the result is not as conclusive as the other hence it is not that popular. The result of HIV test can be confirmed after a week depending on your clinic or hospital where the check was done. For home testing HIV kit, the result can be within 10 minutes but a confirmatory test is highly recommended.