Why need to get tested early?

April 15, 2009

Earlier diagnosis and entry to care are associated with better prognosis and survival.(Among HIV-infected persons with CD4+ cell counts of 201--350 cells/µL, initiating antiretroviral therapy was associated with reduced mortality, compared with delaying such therapy until <200 cells/µL )

Late testing results in missed opportunities for preventing HIV infections. During the time between HIV infection and diagnosis, infected persons can transmit HIV to others when they engage in practices that put their partners at risk. HIV transmission could be reduced by increasing awareness of HIV status through early testing. Knowledge of HIV serostatus promotes adoption of safer sexual practices.

You can maximize your chances of staying healthy by avoiding further contact with the virus and other infections and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

What is the HIV antibody test?

April 01, 2009

The HIV antibody test is a simple blood test which detects the presence of antibodies to HIV. The HIV antibody is a protein naturally produced in the body in response to an infection by the HIV. The antibody screening test is important because it provides you with an early indication that you have been infected with the HIV. Early indication can help minimize the likelihood of developing an illness related to AIDS.

However you need to know that the antibody test is not a test for the disease AIDS - it does not tell you if you have AIDS. It will only show whether you have come into contact with the virus which may cause AIDS.

What will the test tell me?

A positive test result shows that the antibody has been found in your blood. A negative test result shows that the antibody has not been found in your blood. If you have a positive test result

This means:

 •Your blood sample has been tested more than once and the tests indicate that antibodies to HIV are present.
 •You have been infected by HIV and your body has produced antibodies.
 •You are infectious and capable of passing the virus on to others through your blood and semen/vaginal secretions.

This does not mean:

• that you necessarily have AIDS or an AIDS - Related Condition (ARC)
• that you are immune to AIDS
• that you will necessarily develop AIDS

If you have a negative test result

This means:

• no antibodies to HIV were found in your blood at the time of testing
• you either have not been infected by the HIV or your exposure to the virus was too recent for antibodies to be formed and to be detected.
• Most people develop antibodies about 2 - 12 weeks after exposure.

This does not mean:

• that you are immune to the virus
• that you are protected from future infection

Who should be tested?

It is recommended that the following people who face a higher risk be tested:

• drug addicts who inject drugs and have been sharing needles or syringes
• prisoners
• prostitutes
• people with sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
• men and women with many sex partners
• sex partner(s) of an infected person

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