If you are sexually active, it is important to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases on a regular basis, including HIV. There are several types of tests available to make it easy for you to learn if you have the disease and how to be treated. Below is a small guide to HIV testing so you can better understand the process.
Should You Be Tested?
It is recommended by the CDC that anyone from age 13 to 64 be tested for HIV as part of their health care routine at least once. There are risk factors that can help you better understand if you need HIV testing. You can ask yourself these questions every year to see if you might be a match for testing. Common factors that require regular testing include having sex with an HIV positive partner, male having sex with another male, been diagnosed with another STD or had sex with someone who might have been exposed.
Being tested will help you know your HIV status, be it positive or negative. You will be able to seek treatment if you are found to be diagnosed with HIV and if not, you will be able to tell future partners that you do not have HIV and can take precautions to ensure that you can prevent being exposed to the disease.
What Type of Tests are Offered?
There are three basic types of testing that can help you determine if you are HIV positive or negative; Antibody testing, fourth generation testing and nucleic acid tests. Antibody tests are options you can do at home and can take as long as 30-minutes to get results if the test is a rapid antibody screening option. An oral swab type test will provide results in 20 minutes and will use the oral fluid to determine if HIV is present.
A fourth generation test will be searching for antigens and antibodies of HIV. This test can take two to six weeks for the body to be able to have created enough of the antibodies and antigens for testing. This test also requires retesting in three months.
A nucleic acid test will look at the blood for an HIV diagnosis. This test is the more expensive option and is usually only used when the individual is a high-risk exposure candidate or shows early symptoms of HIV.
If you feel that you have been exposed or just want the peace of mind that testing can bring, consider professional testing. Speak to a medical provider such as Heal 360 Urgent Care who can provide HIV testing in Wylie and other areas. You will be able to be tested and learn if you are negative or positive for HIV. The professionals will handle you with care during the testing process and help you move forward with prevention if you have a negative diagnosis or provide treatment options if you are found to be positive with the disease.
Never hesitate to be tested. You want to remain healthy as well as promote good health in relationships and partners that you may have in the future.