What You Need to Know About HIV Testing


If you are looking forward to taking your HIV test in the lab or healthcare setting, the healthcare provider will carefully take your blood or oral fluid sample. It can take a few days for your result to come. The healthcare provider will ask you relevant questions and discuss the risk factors before proceeding to further steps.

Unfortunately, if you are infected with HIV, it won’t be immediately diagnosed. In case you feel you are exposed to HIV, you should immediately consult the healthcare provider regarding post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 2-3 days. The duration between infection and infection diagnosis is referred to as the window period. It differs from one individual to another primarily depending on your test.

HIV Tests and Window Periods

Below we have mentioned the three common HIV tests along with their window periods.

Nucleic Acid Test (NAT):

The test determines if you have the HIV infection after exposure within 10-30 days.

Antibody Test:

They are commonly referred to as rapid tests and self-tests. The test uses blood from the vein to detect whether you are infected. It is typically performed with oral fluid or finger prick. The antibody test can take 20-90 days to diagnose the infection.

Antigen Test:

Similar to the antibody test, it is performed with blood from the finger prick. It takes 18-45 days to detect the infection.

It is important to discuss the window period with your test counselor along with the follow-up test to verify the results. On the other hand, if you have used the self-test you are more likely to get the required information from the materials in the test set. In case you are tested negative after the exposure, we recommend you to get tested again after the window period. Your test can only be negative if you had no potential of HIV exposure in the window period or if your recent most test comes out to be negative after the window period. 

Who Should Get Test for HIV

In general, every individual between the ages of 13-65 should get their test for HIV. People who are at a higher risk should get themselves tested more frequently. Here we have listed down the people who should get the HIV test. 

  • Man having sexual contact with another man
  • Having an HIV-positive sexual partner
  • Sexual contact with more than one person
  • Injected the infected needles or drugs
  • Exchange of sex for money or drugs
  • Diagnosed with another sexually transmitted infection
  • Previously diagnosed or treated with tuberculosis and hepatitis

How HIV Testing Can Help You?

Being aware of your HIV status gives you plenty of information on what steps you should take.

  • If you are tested positive, you should immediately take the medication as recommended by the healthcare consultant. These medicines ensure you get back to normal health and live longer. At the same time, it has important prevention benefit. If you are constantly taking the prescribed medication, there is hardly any risk of transmitting the disease to your HIV-negative partner.
  • In case you are tested negative, you are more likely to have prevention tools to keep yourself away from the disease.
  • For pregnant women, they should seek HIV treatment immediately if they are tested positive or else there is more risk of transmitting the infection to the baby.

What About Expecting Mothers?

We recommend all expecting mothers to be tested for HIV to figure out whether they are HIV-positive. In the case of positive, they can immediately begin with the treatment. A woman seeking Lombard immediate care treatment in her early pregnancy will have minimal risk of transmitting the infection to the baby. Under these circumstances, treating pregnant women and treating their infants with antiretroviral therapy (ART) lower the risk of infection among the babies born. This treatment plays an important role in preventing the transmission of HIV to infants if it has started in the initial stages. It is found that the risk of infection transmission is less than 1%. Moreover, there are other associated health benefits during delivery, and after the child is born.

Treatment for HIV

Anyone diagnosed with HIV infection irrespective of the CD4 T cell count will be given a detailed antiviral medication. Keeping on the ART with an imperceptible HIV in the blood is one of the most effective and easiest ways to stay in good health. It is important to consume the right medications in the recommended amounts without skipping one or more doses. Here are a few benefits you should know:

  • Keep your immune system strengthened
  • Limit the probability of getting infected
  • Minimize the likelihood of developing treatment-resistant HIV
  • Reduce the probability of HIV transmission to other people around

HIV therapy is a long and challenging procedure. It’s crucial to consult your doctor regarding any possible side effects, any challenges during the intake of medication, psychological concerns, or substance abuse. 

Final Thoughts

HIV testing is important to be aware of your health condition and prevent the spread of HIV infection. Many people infected with HIV are even unaware of it and subsequently, they take minimal precautionary measures. In the case of HIV positive results, you will undergo a detailed examination and your doctor will recommend treatment accordingly. It may take up to a few weeks or even months. The treatment will lower the spread of the virus in the blood. Make sure to have follow-up appointments with your healthcare consultant. They will monitor your health and respond to recommended treatment. If you are experiencing any problems during the treatment, inform your doctor right away so they can address these concerns as soon as possible. For any queries regarding HIV testing in Chicago and treatment, write to us in the comment section below. We would be more than happy to serve you.

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