(Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the virus that causes AIDS. It targets and destroys specific cells of the immune system called CD4 cells or T cells, making it hard for the body to fight common diseases. Unlike some other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), it is impossible to get rid of HIV. Once you have the infection, you have the disease for life. Doctors cannot cure the infection but antiretroviral therapies are available to control the disease. With proper medical care, someone diagnosed can live a normal life.
How do you test?
At STDcheck.com, we test using the FDA-approved Antibody test with Reflex to Western Blot confirmation or the RNA test which looks for the presence of HIV directly in the blood, and is conclusive in 9-11 days. We are the only online STD testing service that offers this RNA test.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse. The virus is spread through blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum) and rectal fluids. It can also be transmitted from mother to infant through breast milk. Having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV exposes you to the disease. HIV infection risk is highest among those that engage in anal sex followed by vaginal sex and intravenous drug users who share needles with others.
How soon can I get tested after exposure?
It depends on whether you are taking the Antibody test with Western Blot confirmation or the RNA test. Wait at least 25 days to 2 months for antibodies to develop in the blood before taking the Antibody Test. If you want to take the RNA test, wait 9-11 days before taking the test. Our FDA-approved RNA test results are conclusive in 9-11 days after possible exposure.
What do I need to do to prepare for a HIV test?
You do not need to do anything or fast to prepare for our FDA-approved antibody test with Western Blot exam or RNA test.
FDA-Approved HIV Antibody Test
Our standard test is the 4th Generation Duo Antigen/Antibody Test. This FDA-approved 4th generation HIV test evaluates the blood for Type 1 and Type 2 in two ways: By detecting antibodies that your immune system creates specifically to fight the virus, as well as detecting Human Immunodeficiency Virus antigens called HIV P24 antigens. These antigens are viral proteins that make up most of the core of the virus; they are especially helpful in diagnosing HIV because these antigen levels P24 antigens are high in the first few weeks after infection.
Since this test is sensitive to P24 antigens, it is useful for diagnosing HIV infections when antibody levels are still initially low. If your initial blood test result is positive, a confirmation test will be completed on the same blood sample to confirm the diagnosis at no additional cost. Getting tested for HIV is essential– It is possible to have HIV and infect your partner without showing any signs or symptoms of having the virus.
All laboratory testing, including STD tests, accuracy rates are measured in terms of sensitivity and specificity. Our FDA-approved HIV 4th generation antibody/antigen test has a sensitivity rate of 100% and a specificity of 99.72-100%.
Does the Antibody Test use a blood or urine sample?
Our HIV Antibody Test involves a small blood sample. There is no undressing or uncomfortable swabbing.
What do I need to do to prepare for the test?
No fasting or additional preparation is needed for the HIV Antibody blood test.
When is the right time to get the Antibody Test?
The right time to take our 4th Generation HIV Antibody / Antigen Test is 2-3 weeks after exposure. Our blood test searches for the presence of these antibodies in the blood, as well as antigens on the surface of the HIV virus. Most people will develop detectable antibodies (proteins made by the immune system to fight the HIV virus) within this time frame, but in rare cases it may take up to 3 months for them to develop.
This test is sensitive to P24 antigens, so it is useful for diagnosing HIV infections when antibody levels are still initially low. We do recommend retesting after three months have past since potential exposure for conclusive results. If antibodies or antigens to HIV are found, a supplemental differentiation assay is performed at no additional cost to confirm the presence of HIV. If you are concerned about recent exposure, our HIV RNA Early Detection Test can detect the presence of HIV as early as 9-11 days after exposure.
What will the test results say?
Your HIV test results will say either positive or negative. There are no signs of HIV antibodies or antigens in the blood if the result is negative. If positive, HIV antibodies were found, and a confirmation test will be completed on the same blood sample to confirm the diagnosis at no additional cost.
Can HIV be cured or treated?
No, there is no cure, but with the help of various antiretroviral drugs, it can be managed and individuals with HIV can lead normal lives. The medications prescribed to treat and manage HIV strengthen the immune system and help prevent it from developing into AIDS.
Who needs HIV Antibody testing?
It affects both men and women. Anyone who has had unprotected sex or who engages in intravenous drug use should get tested. It is possible to have HIV for a long time without being aware, especially because its symptoms (if present) could be mistaken for other illnesses. The only way to know is to get tested. The test should be a part of your routine STD screening.
When is the Right Time?
Now is the best time to test?
If you had a recent unprotected sexual encounter with someone whose STD status you do not know or who uses intravenous drugs, it is important that you get tested for it and other STDs today. Most people will develop detectable antibodies as soon as 2-3 weeks after exposure, but in rare cases, it may take up to 3 months. Take our 4th Generation Antibody / Antigen Test 2-3 weeks or the RNA Early Detection Test in 9-11 days after exposure.