Tests For the HIV Virus
The Centers for Disease Control recommends HIV testing as part of routine medical care for everyone between the
ages of 13 to 64. This may seem like a drastic step but they recommended this step in September 2006.
That should tell you how serious they consider the disease of AIDS. The CDC suggests
that everyone have at least one test in his or her lifetime but yearly tests should be conducted for those
people at high risk.
The sad fact about HIV testing is that it is not accurate immediately after a person has been infected. It
takes about twelve weeks for HIV antibodies to develop. In some rare cases it may take six to twelve months
for the body to show these antibodies. If you don’t realize you may be at risk, signs and symptoms of HIV and
AIDS will not show up for up to ten years. This is a scary thought because even though the signs and symptoms
are not visible, they can still infect other people with the virus.
For many years the only test for the HIV virus was the ELISA test that looks for the antibodies in a sample of
blood. The emotional toll can be terrible because with the early tests it would take up to two weeks to
receive the results. If the first results are possible, then a second test is performed to confirm the first
test. The second test is called the Western Blot test. Combining the results of the two tests will tell
you if you have HIV. The first test could give you a false positive that is why it is so important to follow
through with the another testing.
Did You Know?
The best and most certain way of not getting HIV or AIDS is to avoid contact with body fluids
from an infected person. Contact can occur during homosexual or heterosexual activity. Body fluids
find an opening in the body and the infection is passed to another person. The virus can get into
the vagina, anus, mouth, and eyes.
A person with an open cut or wound can allow the virus into their body. If you are in the
medical profession, it is urgent you take precautions while handling patients. Gloves, masks, and
goggles are necessary to protect from accidental infection of the HIV virus.
Research on the HIV virus and the disease of AIDS has been continuing since the early 1980’s.
The epidemic is growing and scientists and researchers are constantly working on vaccines and new
therapies for AIDS and other HIV associated conditions. There are over 30 HIV vaccines are being
tested on humans and there are many other drugs for HIV or AIDS related infections are still being
developed and tested by major laboratories. Researchers are still trying to trace how the disease
progresses and how it damages the immune system.
Today there are newer and more effective tests that also will give the results quicker. Some tests will
show results in as little as twenty minutes. These tests will use a sample of your blood or from material
collected from your upper and lower gums. This test is just as effective as the blood test and eliminates
drawing blood and the risk of an accidental needle prick to the health giver. If the test shows positive, a
second blood test will be required with drawn blood. The tests are new and certified to be used in
laboratories only, so they may not be available to all areas of the country.
Anyone who can surf the Internet can find many home HIV tests. This gives you the opportunity to have the
test in the privacy of your home without going to a doctor or a clinic. These tests cannot be legally
marketed in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has approved one HIV test for home use.
Home Access Health makes it and if the test is positive, the test results are retested. It isn’t like a home
pregnancy test. You are asked to send in a drop of your blood then call in to a toll-free number to receive
the results of the test. You are guaranteed privacy and anonymity because you are identified only with a code
number that is in your testing kit.