HIV Screening Test – What Every HIV Patient Needs to Know?

HIV is a significant public health issue since it is still spreading around the world and has already claimed millions of lives. After years of decline, growing patterns in new infections have been documented in some countries. In order to avoid waiting until it is too late to start therapy, it is crucial to quickly get a diagnosis that’s right for you. Whether you want to live a healthy lifestyle with HIV or are worried about it, we have you covered. Let’s dive right in to the guide, which will undoubtedly give you a thorough understanding of HIV, HIV screening tests, and more!

What is HIV?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV, is a virus that directly affects the immune system by focusing on particular CD4-positive cells. In the battle against illnesses and infections in the body, CD4 is absolutely essential. If HIV is left untreated, it can progress to the advanced form- AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). 

At this point, people are more susceptible to opportunistic infections and other consequences because their immune systems are compromised. There are various measures that can be taken to prevention and manage HIV, however, there is no guaranteed HIV cure is out yet. Despite this, the community pharmacy in Houston offers HIV medicines to manage HIV effectively; make sure to consult HIV specialists before taking any HIV medications and treatments.

Moreover, If you think you have been exposed to HIV, you need to get emergency care, also known as PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis). If you start PEP within three days of possible exposure, it may help prevent HIV infection. The earlier you begin, the better. You will need to undergo HIV screening tests while and after taking PEP.

What are the Main HIV Screening Tests?

There are three main types of HIV tests. Detecting HIV is still a challenging process as the common HIV symptoms are not specific they can indicate other health conditions; hence, the only way to detect HIV & AIDS is by performing HIV Screening tests. In the following, we listed the three main HIV screening tests with good accuracy results.

HIV Antibody Test 

One of the frequently used tests for HIV diagnosis is the antibody test. To identify the presence of HIV antibodies, HIV specialists advise using this type of screening test. The test results are interpreted based on whether HIV antibodies are present in a blood sample. A negative indicates that there were no HIV antibodies found. Reactive or positive results, on the other hand, show the presence of HIV antibodies and call for additional confirmation testing. 

Right Time for HIV Antibody Test – 23 Days after Infection.

HIV Antibody/Antigen Test 

One of the recommended methods for identifying HIV status is an antibody/antigen test. They examine your blood for HIV antigens and antibodies. The component of the HIV virus known as an antigen stimulates your immune system to attack the infection. The given blood sample will be checked for the presence of HIV p24 (the HIV virus’s inner core).

Right Time for HIV Antibody/Antigen Test – 18 to 45 days before infection

Nucleic Acid Test (NAT)

In the event that HIV p24 is detected and the screening test is inconclusive, a confirmatory test is performed to confirm HIV infection. NAT tests (nucleic acid tests) are the most conclusive tests. HIV NAT tests look for HIV in blood samples taken from veins and tested in a laboratory. Due to the high NAT HIV screening test cost, these tests are mostly counted as monitoring tests, not routine HIV screening tests. 

Right Time for HIV Antibody/Antigen Test – 18 to 45 days before infection

Note – All of them are very accurate, but no test can detect HIV right away, since it takes weeks for signs of HIV in your body to appear on a test. How long it takes before a test finds HIV depends on how your body reacts to HIV and the type of test.

Who Should Get HIV Screening Tests?

HIV testing results are highly recommended in these situations by doctors for the safety of their patients.

  • Sexual contact without protection 
  • Shared needles with HIV patient
  • If you engage in risky behavior.
  • If you are expecting or intend to become pregnant.
  • In the case of HIV/AIDS symptoms.
  • As a couple, you want to ensure the health of you and your partner.

Overall, it is recommended to get a routine HIV test when you are at higher risk of HIV & AIDS or have any concerns.

Who Provides HIV Screening Test Services?

The following are the sites that provide HIV screening tests: 

– Community health centers

– Sexual health clinics

– Family planning clinics

– Local health department 

In addition, drugstore in Houston like Scott Read Pharmacy also provide PEP & Prep HIV test kits online. Get in touch with our team for further details 

The Complete Overview of HIV 

Look at the table below to get a clear understanding of what is HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and how it affects people.

Category Information
Virus Name Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
HIV Transmission Sexual contact, sharing needles, mother to child (during childbirth, breastfeeding)
HIV Symptoms Fever, fatigue, sore throat, rash, swollen lymph nodes
HIV Progression Acute infection, clinical latency, acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
HIV Screening Tests HIV antibody tests, nucleic acid tests (NATs)
HIV Prevention Safe sex practices, using clean needles, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)
HIV Treatment Antiretroviral therapy (ART), a combination of drugs to control virus replication
HIV Risk Opportunistic infections, HIV-related cancers, and other life-threatening diseases.
HIV Global Impact Estimated 38 million people worldwide live with HIV & around 40.4 million people have died from HIV 
HIV Cure No cure for HIV exists, but ART can suppress the virus and prevent disease progression

Conclusion

The most widespread STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) is HIV. If you are worried that you might be HIV positive, don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, go for HIV screening tests, and get started on treatment right away. 

Additionally, reach out to Scott Read Pharmacy, the top pharmacy in Houston, if you’re looking for HIV medicines and supplements that will help you manage HIV. Scott Read Pharmacy offers efficient HIV medications & treatment options.


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