HIV is most commonly diagnosed by testing your blood or saliva for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Unfortunately, these types of HIV tests aren't accurate immediately after infection because it takes time for your body to develop these antibodies — usually up to 12 weeks. In rare cases, it can take up to six months for an HIV antibody test to become positive.
A newer type of test checks for HIV antigen, a protein produced by the virus immediately after infection. This test can confirm a diagnosis within days of infection. An earlier diagnosis may prompt people to take extra precautions to prevent transmission of the virus to others.
If you receive a diagnosis of HIV/AIDS, several types of tests can help your doctor determine what stage of the disease you have.
•CD4 count. Also called (T4 or T cells)CD4 cells are a type of white blood cell that's specifically targeted and destroyed by HIV. A healthy person's CD4 count can vary from 500 to more than 1,000. Even if a person has no symptoms, HIV infection progresses to AIDS when his or her CD4 count becomes less than 200.
•Viral load. This test measures the amount of virus in your blood. Studies have shown that people with higher viral loads generally fare more poorly than do those with a lower viral load.
•Drug resistance. This type of test determines if your strain of HIV is resistant to any anti-HIV medications.
HIV testing is the key to slowing the HIV epidemic. Knowing your HIV status could be one of the most important things you do. Diagnosing HIV early in the disease course improves your prognosis. There are other reasons why HIV testing is beneficial.
1. Early detection means a healthier, longer life The key to living a healthy life with the HIV virus is to diagnosed early. The sooner medicine can be prescribed for treatment, the more damage can be prevented from the disease. Getting into the care of an HIV specialist is an essential part of staying healthy if you test positive. Getting tested is always the first step.
2. Knowing your status protects you and others Knowing your status allows you to protect your partner as well as yourself. Even if you are both positive, safer sex techniques are a must. Why you ask? There are multiple types of HIV. It is possible to increase infection and accelerate the disease process.
3. Knowing your status allows you to make informed decisions Knowing your status allows you to make informed decisions regarding your future and your life. Women living with HIV can have the family they always wanted. Knowing you are HIV positive allows you to take steps to protect your unborn baby. There are specialized medicines that protect the unborn child during development and precautions that need to be included to protect the infant during child birth.
4. Now you can ask the right questions Knowing your body is an important part of living a healthy life. Get tested for HIV and if you are positive ask the right questions.
5. Know your status...get the most of your doctor visits When you're not feeling well, your doctor will be better able to treat you if he has all the facts. If he knows your status, he can address the special needs your HIV demands. And it's up to you to get the most of your doctor visits. Here is a guide to making each doctor visit count.
"Thanks for keeping it totally professional and confidential."
BL, Cincinatti, Ohio
"Very Simple. Thank You!"
MJ, Charlotte, NC
"Easy and Affordable with fast results. A+++."
JC, Dallas TX
"Thanks Again, Prescription Worked Great LOL."
MG, Los Angeles, CA
"Fast and simple."
CN, Chicago, IL