Archive for the ‘Testing’ Category
Here at MyHIVAIDSAwareness.com, we focus on researching credible and trustworthy sources of information. Our team thoroughly reviews the mountains of data – some opinion and some fact – to present simple personal solutions that can make a difference in living with HIV/AIDS.
We come across a tremendous amount of information that can be sometimes confusing and contradictory. We have identified these 25 things that you should know because they impact your actions and what path you take.
I have shared a favorite quote before, but I’d like to share it again. “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking the path.” ~Morpheus
DAY 1: The truth about HIV testing
The standard HIV test looks for the presence of HIV antibodies in your blood. It doesn’t test for the presence of the virus in your system. This means a lot when you are talking about knowing your status for sure.
Why is this important to you?
If you are infected with HIV, your body responds by producing special proteins to fight the infection. These are called antibodies and are part of your immune system response. An HIV antibody test looks for these antibodies in your blood, saliva or urine. If antibodies to HIV are detected in your body, it means you have been infected with HIV.
It takes most people 6 – 12 weeks to develop detectable HIV antibodies after infection. Very rarely, it can take up to 6 months and that usually means you have some other auto-immune disorder. It is very unlikely that it would take longer than 6 months to develop antibodies in your body.
The time between when you are infected and when your body produces antibodies is called the “window period”.
During the window period you will test negative for HIV antibodies, but could still be infected and transmit HIV to others. To avoid false negatives, antibody tests are recommended three months after potential exposure to HIV infection. A second test at six months will confirm you are HIV negative ONLY if you don’t have continued risk of exposure.
How does this affect your path?
It means that you could be infecting others for up to three months after you are infected and not know it because you test negative. Unless you don’t expose yourself to risk of HIV infection for a period of six months, you really don’t know for sure that you are HIV negative – no matter what your latest test says. To prevent potentially exposing others, you’ve got to assume you are HIV positive and take safe sex precautions.
The power is yours. Which path will you choose?
There is just no other way to say this…
HIV testing laws in this country are ridiculous.
I read through some of the laws at this site: http://www.nccc.ucsf.edu/consultation_library/state_hiv_testing_laws/
HIV testing should just be part of regular healthcare process. Get a physical – get tested in the same way that our cholesterol and blood sugar are tested. What is so difficult about that? Why make it so hard with the requirements for pre and post-test counseling and written consent as it is in many states? Why single out this test?
In September 2006, the CDC recommended routine HIV testing for all Americans aged 13–64, which would eliminate requirements for written consent and pretest counseling. It is four years later and many of the states have yet to change their laws.
In fact, they call it one of the most widely undone and disregarded guidelines in medicine!
Last week we were all talking about the newly released study from the CDC that looked at gay males in 21 major cities. The researchers found that 20% were HIV positive and 44% did not know their status. These are shocking numbers that make an entire population at risk. As a gay male, you could look around a room and basically one out of every ten people don’t know that they can transmit a catastrophic disease to you.
There is finally a new law in New York requiring that HIV tests routinely be offered to all New Yorkers between the ages of 13 to 64. The CDC estimates more than 100,000 people in New York City are infected and about one in five don’t know their status. That makes about 20,000 people potentially infecting others and not knowing it in just one city.
New York health officials expect to see a rise in new cases of HIV and that is the intent of the new law.
Do you know the law in your state? Please check it out and let your legislature know that HIV testing needs to be an easy process to encourage as many people as possible to get tested.
It only makes sense.
National HIV Testing Day is June 27th
Every year since 1995, the folks the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) organize National HIV Testing Day on June 27th. They bring together local organizations around the country to work with communities in promoting early diagnosis and testing for HIV.
When you get to the facts that a quarter of the people who are HIV positive in the United States don’t know it, you can’t shake the absolute urgency of being tested. In last winter’s overblown anxiety about H1N1 flu, people weren’t flying or getting on trains because they feared infection. There were daily news stories about the shortage of vaccines and the steps you needed to talk to ward off infection.
But how often do we talk about HIV infection in the mainstream media today? Are you taking precautions to prevent infection?
Early diagnosis and access to treatment mean the difference between life and death for those with HIV. They can also mean the same difference for those you have sex or share needles with in the coming years. Knowing your HIV status helps you make better decisions for yourself and those you share your life with.
On June 27th, state and local health departments, community-based organizations, HIV testing sites, and AIDS service providers across the United States will participate in events for National HIV Testing Day. These activities will include health fairs, community education, special events, and extended testing hours.
Right here in Phoenix, Southwest Center for HIV/ AIDS (www.swhiv.org) is offering free HIV testing on June 26 to honor National HIV Testing Day. Want to know more about events in your town or state? Please go to http://www.hivtest.org/press_files/events.cfm and click on your state to see the events.