What is HIV Antibody Testing? HIV testing determines whether or not you are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). This virus destroys the body’s ability to fight off illness, and is the cause of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome).
Anal, vaginal, or oral sex without a condom. If you have another sexually transmitted disease, you chances of contracting HIV during sex are much higher.
Testing is recommended if:
Even if you have no risk factors for HIV infection, you may still want to get tested to ease your own mind. This also encourages everyone to be more responsible about HIV transmission.
After a possible HIV exposure: An HIV test will not detect the presence of the HIV virus immediately after exposure. Statistics show that 96% (perhaps higher) of all infected individuals will test positive within 2 to 12 weeks. In some cases, this may take up to six months.Think about this: if you got a negative test at six weeks, would you believe it? Would it make you less anxious? If so, go for it. But to be certain, you will need to be tested again at six months.
Anonymous testing means that absolutely no one has access to your test results since your name is never recorded at the test site. Confidential testing sometimes means identifying yourself in some manner to the test site, with their assurance that this information will remain private. Anonymous test sites are highly recommended because:
Anonymous testing sites never give written results. Some sites who do anonymous testing also do confidential testing, which may also include written results. At least 11 states do not currently provide anonymous testing.
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A negative test result means:
A positive test result means:
Periodic testing has the following benefits:
You can arrange for HIV testing at an established testing center, or at your doctor’s office. Test results are usually available within one to two weeks. Home test kits allow you to mail in a sample, and receive your results sometime later via telephone.
Do you need help finding a free, confidential center near you CHECK HERE for national HIV testing locations and care services. If you would like to talk to someone and have any questions, you can contact the National AIDS Hotline at (800) 342-2437 (24 hrs/day, 365 days/year).
Problems with Home Testing
What Test Should I Buy?
Be sure you get an FDA approved test kit, such as “Home Access.” Other tests are available, and some have been shown to be inaccurate. These are available over-the-counter at most drug stores.
The following map shows the ranges of rates of persons living with a diagnosis of HIV infection at the end of 2011, by state; predominantly, states in the South and the Northeast report the highest rates. In 2011, the overall total rate for persons living with a diagnosis of HIV infection in the United States was 417.5/100,000 population.
Most people receiving an AIDS diagnosis in 2010 or living with an AIDS diagnosis at the end of 2009 were black, white, or Latino, reflecting the majority population groups of the United States.
Race/Ethnicity of Persons Diagnosed with AIDS in 2010
in the 50 States and District of Columbia, by Region of ResidenceHowever, HIV and AIDS strongly affect some of the smaller population groups in the United States, an effect that may not always be noted because of the relatively small number of cases among these groups. For example, by year-end 2009, American Indians/Alaska Natives living in the Northeast had almost the same rate of persons living with an AIDS diagnosis (86.8/100,000 people) as whites in this region (87.6/100,000).
About 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, and 1 in 4 is 13 to 24 years old. Youth make up 7% of the more than 1 million people in the US living with HIV. About 12,000 youth were infected with HIV in 2010. The greatest number of infections occurred among gay and bisexual youth. Nearly half of all new infections among youth occur in African American males.
The risk for HIV for most youth begins when they start having sex or start injecting drugs. HIV causes a serious infection that, without treatment, leads to AIDS and early death. All youth should know how HIV is transmitted and prevented, understand what puts them at risk for HIV, and be tested if they are at risk. About 60% of all youth, with HIV do not know they are infected, are not getting treated, and can unknowingly pass the virus on to others.
Get the facts, get tested and get involved, and we can all support programs to prevent HIV among youth.