Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a sort of virus that assaults your physique’s immune system, leaving you extra in danger for infections. It will be unfold by coming into contact with another person’s contaminated blood or physique fluids.
Some folks might marvel if ladies can get HIV. And the reply is sure. One in 4 folks residing with HIV in the united statesis a lady.
HIV can disguise within the physique for years and doesn’t have a tendency to point out any signs at first. In actual fact, 1 in 9 ladies with HIV don’t know they’ve the virus. The one approach to know you probably have HIV is to get examined.
Luckily, the variety of ladies residing with HIV has been happening in recent times. However HIV testing charges are low, even amongst ladies who’re at larger danger for getting HIV, particularly those that have anal intercourse. The pandemic triggered many individuals to skip HIV testing, in response to one 2021 research.
With a purpose to carry testing charges as much as obtain the 2025 purpose of greater than 95% of individuals within the U.S. who know their HIV standing, the variety of each women and men getting examined wants to extend thrice the present charge. This testing purpose comes from the Ending the HIV Epidemic within the U.S. initiative, launched by the U.S. Division of Well being and Human Providers.
The excellent news is, people who find themselves HIV-positive can dwell a very long time if the situation is nicely managed. Testing for HIV is step one in taking management of your well being.
Right here’s what all ladies have to learn about HIV testing and the completely different choices which are obtainable.
Who must be getting examined for HIV?
Everybody must be examined at the very least as soon as for HIV between the ages of 13 and 64, and proceed to get examined previous age 64 in the event that they’re sexually lively. However sure elements can put you at excessive danger for the virus, which implies it’s best to get examined extra usually. When you’ve got a sexually transmitted an infection (STI), for instance, you’re extra prone to get HIV in comparison with folks with out an STI. And you probably have a sexual companion who has HIV, particularly with late-stage HIV an infection or excessive viral load, it will increase the percentages you’ll get HIV as nicely.
Anybody who’s sexually lively or shares needles must be examined for HIV. It’s because the virus can enter your physique by way of contaminated fluids equivalent to blood, semen and vaginal fluids. Throughout vaginal or anal intercourse, ladies have a larger probability of getting HIV than their male companion since receptive intercourse (the particular person receiving the penis) is larger danger than insertive intercourse (the particular person inserting a penis). When you’ve got a number of intercourse companions or in case you aren’t positive of your companion’s sexual historical past, it’s a good suggestion to get examined.
In the event you’re planning a being pregnant, you ought to be examined for HIV previous to turning into pregnant. It’s because HIV an infection might be handed on to your unborn child by way of the placenta throughout being pregnant or labor and supply. Breastfeeding also can go the virus on to the child.
Older ladies and ladies in menopause are additionally in danger as a result of thinning vaginal tissue and an absence of lubrication could cause cuts within the vagina throughout intercourse. This could increase the chance of publicity to the virus, so in case you’re sexually lively, it’s best to nonetheless get examined no matter your age.
How do you get examined for HIV?
In the event you’re in search of locations to get an HIV take a look at, you would possibly begin together with your clinic or healthcare supplier’s workplace. Lots of them provide free or low-cost HIV testing. You may as well enter your ZIP code, metropolis or state into the HIV.gov clinic finder to seek out your nearest testing middle.
You might be able to get free testing below the Reasonably priced Care Act you probably have medical insurance. Most insurance policy provide HIV screening and counseling freed from value.
Testing is all the time confidential, that means your outcomes received’t be proven to anybody apart from you. The outcomes are reported to authorities companies to assist public well being officers estimate HIV in your state, however your private info will not be shared. You may as well get examined anonymously, the place you go by a quantity relatively than your title.
What are the several types of HIV checks?
Antibody-only checks search for HIV antibodies, that are produced by your immune system whenever you’re uncovered to viruses, 23 to 90 days after publicity. These checks will be finished both with a blood draw within the clinic or lab, or as a fast take a look at utilizing a finger stick or saliva swab. Blood draw outcomes can take a number of days to return again to you, however they’ll detect antibodies sooner after publicity, in comparison with taking a fast take a look at. Speedy HIV checks can provide leads to 20 to half-hour.
Antigen/antibody checks search for each HIV antibodies and an HIV antigen referred to as p24, which is made in your physique whenever you’re first uncovered to HIV and earlier than HIV antibodies seem. You’ll be able to have the take a look at finished on the clinic or lab 18 to 45 days after publicity or as a fast take a look at 18 to 90 days after publicity. Whereas fast checks utilizing a finger stick provide you with leads to about half-hour, they’ll take longer to detect the HIV an infection than in case you had a blood draw from a vein.
Nucleic acid checks (NATs) can really detect how a lot, if any, HIV virus is in your physique (referred to as the viral load) and are finished by a blood draw within the lab. NATs can detect the virus simply 10 to 33 days after publicity. Nevertheless, they’re costlier and aren’t normally used for screening until you’ve had a high-risk publicity or a potential publicity and are having signs.
How quickly after an HIV publicity are you able to get examined for HIV?
You shouldn’t take an HIV take a look at instantly after publicity as a result of it takes time on your physique to construct up the antibodies that the take a look at appears to be like for. This timeframe from whenever you had been uncovered to the virus to when the virus is ready to be discovered is called the window interval. Every HIV take a look at has a special window interval and can provide a destructive end result in case you take a look at throughout that window interval even you probably have an HIV an infection. In the event you get a destructive end result, take a look at once more after the window interval to substantiate the destructive end result.
Understanding HIV take a look at outcomes
When you’ve got a destructive HIV take a look at, it means the virus wasn’t detected in your physique. Your HIV take a look at solely reveals your standing, not your companion’s standing. So you possibly can’t assume your companion is destructive simply since you are. Your companion ought to get their very own HIV take a look at.
HIV-positive means there may be the presence of HIV in your physique. It doesn’t imply you’ve got AIDS. Whereas HIV checks are normally correct, you will get a false constructive, that means your take a look at outcomes present you’re constructive whenever you’re not.
In the event you get a constructive end result, it’s vital to see your HCP as quickly as potential so therapy can start. Not solely do drugs assist preserve your physique wholesome, however they’ll vastly decrease your possibilities of passing HIV on to others.
In the event you suppose you’ve been uncovered to HIV, speak together with your HCP as quickly as potential. They can assist you determine when and what testing is required.
This academic useful resource was created in partnership with NCBA and with assist from Merck.
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