People with HIV who are conscious of their condition can get HIV treatment (ART or anti retro-viral therapy) and remain in good physical health for many years. Studies say that the sooner people start treatment after diagnosis, the more they can gain from ART. Treatment with ART lowers the level of HIV in the blood (viral load), lessen HIV-related infection, and lowers the possibility of transmitting HIV to others. Patients with HIV who take ART as prescribed as well as keep an undetectable viral load have no chance of sexually transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner.
Importance of HIV PREP!
People who get tested and get to know they are HIV-negative can also make decisions about drug use, sex, and health care that can guard them against HIV. People who have a very high risk for HIV, if are taking HIV medicine called pre-exposure prophylaxis or PrEP daily, can prevent HIV infection by 90% even more.
HIV Screening and Diagnosis
HIV tests are exact, but no test can identify the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can identify infection depends upon some factors, for instance, the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV diagnostic tests: antigen/antibody test nucleic acid tests (NAT), and antibody tests.
• NATs look for the virus in the blood. This test is very costly and is not regularly used for HIV screening unless the person recently had a possible exposure or high-risk exposure with early signs of HIV infection.
•Antigen/antibody tests look for both HIV antibodies as well as antigens. Antigens are foreign substances that keep your immune system activate. If one is infected with HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced even sooner than antibodies develop. Tests that detect both antigen and antibodies are suggested for testing done in labs and are now common in the United States. There is also a quick antigen/antibody test available.
•Antibody tests identify the presence of antibodies, proteins that a person’s body makes against HIV and not HIV itself. Mainly rapid tests and home tests are antibody tests.
An initial HIV test generally will either be an antigen test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV Check is a quick test or a home test and if it is positive, the individual must go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a laboratory test and it is positive, the laboratory will generally conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are normally very accurate, follow-up testing allows the health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.
The only way to know if you have HIV is to get an HIV check!
Several types of tests check your body fluids or blood to see if you’re infected. It’s not very easy to identify HIV right away for the reason that it takes time for your body to make antibodies or for enough virus to develop inside you. It may be up to 6 months before you’ll get a positive report, which means an early test could be negative even though you’re infected.