Consistent health checkups are a great way to keep your health in good condition and stay healthy throughout your life.
You might not think much about your health, but getting a regular check-up can help you plan your medical treatment accordingly.
Regular checkups can help doctors detect any health conditions that pose a high risk at the earliest and treat the disease immediately. Therefore, regular checkups are essential to keep your health intact.
Getting HIV tests at the earliest can help a person receive treatment immediately. There are different types of tests, and sometimes people may get non-reactive test results.
Knowing your HIV status helps you keep yourself and your partner safe.
It is advisable to get HIV tests for everyone between the age of 13 to 64 as per guidelines prescribed by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control).
However, there is a particular group of individuals who should get HIV tests more often. They include people who are sexually active with multiple partners and those who have shared syringes and injections.
This article discusses HIV testing and what a nonreactive HIV test is.
What is a non-reactive HIV test?
A non reactive HIV test means that the test did not show any evidence of HIV infection. It means the HIV antibodies and virus were not found in the blood.
If a person’s HIV test result is negative, it doesn't certainly mean that person doesn’t have HIV. That is because of the period when a person gets HIV and when a test can correctly detect it. The window period differs from person to person and depends on the type of HIV test they take.
If a person’s HIV test is reactive or positive, the test detects HIV antibodies and a person is likely to have HIV.
Different types of HIV tests
HIV tests are done using three methods to detect HIV infection: antibody tests, antigen tests, and nucleic tests (NATs).
Antibody tests are done to identify the presence of particular antibodies in the blood. Antibodies are proteins that your immune system produces to fight infections.
This test can help diagnose various diseases, including HIV. People can take this test at home or at the doctor's office.
Antigen or antibody tests are done to identify both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are part of the immune system that fights infections, and antigens are particles that cause the body to produce specific antibodies.
Antigen/antibody tests are suggested for lab testing by taking blood from the vein. A rapid antigen/antibody test is also available using blood from a finger stick.
Nucleic acid test
The HIV virus in the blood can be identified successfully using a nucleic acid test. During the Nucleic acid test, the doctor will collect blood from your vein and send the sample to the lab. This test will identify if a person is affected by HIV or how much virus is in the blood.
The antibody or antigen tests are generally preferred as the initial test.
Since Nucleic Acid Tests (NTAs) are expensive, they aren’t usually selected for HIV tests unless the person is at high-risk or possibly has early HIV symptoms.
When the initial test outcome is positive, a follow-up test is done to re-confirm. Sometimes people will need to visit the hospital to take follow-up tests.
The HIV test can also be done with the same blood samples given for the first time in the lab. A follow-up positive HIV test declares that the person has HIV infection.
However, consult your doctor to discuss your HIV risk factors and get the appropriate HIV test.
Where to get the HIV test?
Your doctor can do an HIV test for you. You can get HIV tests in many healthcare centers, including hospitals, medical clinics, community health centers, and substance use programs. However, getting a test from a professional is recommended.
There are two types of HIV self-test kits available. Rapid self-test and main-in self-test, but specific state laws regarding self-test might restrict the availability in particular places or locations.
You can get tested for HIV at home or in private using an oral and fluid test known as the rapid self-test. Currently, there is one raid self-test called OraQuick In-Home HIV test available and is approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States (U.S).
For a mail-in self-test, you must provide a blood sample from a fingerstick that is later sent to the lab for testing.
Will HIV tests be confidential?
HIV tests can be anonymous or confidential.
Confidential testing means that your report will include your name, related information, and test results. HIV-positive test results are provided to the local or state health department for statistical purposes.
Before submitting to CDC, the health department removes all personal information, including name and address. CDC uses the data for information purposes and doesn’t share any information with other organizations.
In anonymous testing, you need not give your name during your HIV test. You will be given a number when you take the test, and you provide that number instead of your name.
Why is an HIV test necessary?
Antiretroviral medication, sometimes known as ART, is available to those with HIV who are aware of their status and can help them stay healthy for years. According to several research, those who begin HIV therapy soon after being diagnosed get more benefits.
HIV medication lowers the viral load, which measures the amount of HIV in the blood. Having a lower viral load lessens HIV-related disease and prevents transmission to others.
People with HIV cannot transmit the virus to their sex partners if they follow the recommended HIV treatment procedure.
If someone gets tested and finds out they don't have HIV, they can then make choices about their sexual behavior, drug use, and medical care that can help avoid HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, sometimes PrEP, is a highly efficient HIV prevention medication.
What are the benefits of HIV testing?
One of the best methods to prevent HIV infection is to know your HIV status. Testing for HIV has several advantages, regardless of whether the results are positive or negative.
- The test is faster and easier.
- You can live a healthy life.
- You can protect your partner.
- It will give you peace of mind.
The only way to determine your HIV status is to take an HIV test. Even if you feel fine, getting tested is crucial because AIDS symptoms can take years to detect.
It's essential to know your HIV status, whether you test positive or negative, to receive treatment and stop the infection from spreading.
Blood and sperm are two biological fluids that HIV can transmit through.
This means that unprotected sex and sharing needles while using drugs are typical ways people get HIV. You must get it checked if you have been involved in such activities with an individual whose HIV status you are unaware of.
Once you know your status, you can get treatment and take steps to avoid spreading HIV to others.
1. How many days is an HIV test valid?
Ans: HIV may typically be identified 18 to 90 days after exposure with a quick antigen/antibody test using blood from a finger stick. 18 to 45 days after exposure, HIV can be found via an antigen/antibody lab test utilizing blood from a vein. Typically, 10 to 33 days after exposure, an HIV test (NAT) can be used to detect the virus.
2. What should I avoid before getting an HIV test?
Ans: Avoid unprotected sex and sharing needles or drug equipment with anyone with HIV or whose HIV status you are unaware of.
3. What are the requirements before an HIV test?
Ans: You don't require any specific preparations for an HIV test. If you are getting tested in a health clinic or community program, a counselor may discuss your risk for HIV. However, you can write down any specific questions you may want to ask.