The HIV test is simple, can only be done with the consent of the person concerned, and respecting its confidentiality; it is generally free in public centers, but there are cases where payment of a ticket is required. It generally consists of a simple blood sample and the result is available after a few days. Only some centers, on request, use rapid saliva test kits that provide the result after about 20 minutes; a positive result should always be confirmed by the blood test.
When you are at risk of HIV infection
In most cases the situations where you are exposed to risk are the following:
√ unprotected sexual intercourse (vaginal or anal penetration without a condom, indifferently between two men or between a man and a woman, or oral relationship with ejaculation in the mouth) with a person of whom it is not known for sure that she is seronegative;
√ contact of an injury with the blood of another person who is not known for certain to be seronegative (for example using syringes or other sharp objects
Already used by others and which may have traces of other people’s blood). If you think you have experienced a risk situation, it is necessary and important to take the test. If you often have risky situations, for example if you habitually have different sexual partners or if you often use injecting drugs with others, it is good practice to carry out the HIV test regularly, at least once a year or once every six months. months.
How long after the risk to take the test
To be sure you have not contracted the infection, it is necessary that the test was carried out at least 6 weeks after the event at risk. The negative result of a test performed before this period (said window period, during which even if there was an infection could not be detected by all tests) is not considered final and the test must be repeated.
The importance of counseling
Many test centers offer the opportunity to speak with an operator who will be able to assess the individual situation and give specific advice on how to avoid exposing yourself to risk and how to ensure that you do not have HIV infection. Many people may feel uncomfortable talking about their sex life under these circumstances, but it is essential to understand that this can be a useful time to receive very important information for your health.
What is the point of taking the test?
The therapy unfortunately cannot “heal” the infection but it can avoid causing serious health problems and allowing you to live a normal life.
Some don’t want to take the test because they think that a diagnosis of HIV is a kind of death sentence: it’s not like that!
Living with HIV you can, just “keep it at bay” with therapies started in time to prevent the virus from doing serious damage to our immune system. Furthermore, knowing that you have HIV can help you avoid passing it on to others.
In the initial phase of the infection, the virus multiplies rapidly, increasing the chances of transmission in the case of risky behavior. So it’s important to take the control test and have protected relationships.
Quick test From 1 Decembe
From 1 December, a self-test is available in pharmacies that lets you know immediately if you have been infected by the virus or not. Its operation is quite simple: you perform a tiny puncture on the fingertip, wait 15 minutes and then you will know the results.
The test will be sold to adults without a prescription. Its reliability is 99.8 per cent, provided that before doing the test the so-called window interval is observed, that is the period of time that elapses between the moment of the presumed infection and the production of antibodies that signal the presence of the virus. In order to perform the capillary test it is therefore necessary to wait 90 days. The same time that you have to wait before doing even the traditional test. However, the self-test will not replace the free and anonymous tests currently offered by the National Health Service. And in any case, after receiving a diagnosis confirming the presence of the HIV virus from the self-test, you must redo the tests in a laboratory and contact a doctor.
It is important to know that in the event of a positive test it is not necessary to be alarmed because with HIV you live but, like all other diseases, it must be treated.
Please note that Anlaids Lombard section is available for any information and support on 02 3360 8680.
Is it useful to check yourself for other Sexually Transmitted Infections?
Yes, in addition to the HIV test, in case of risky behavior it is important to take the test for other infections (syphilis, hepatitis, gonorrhea, Chlamydia, etc.).
Where to take the test?