Ways & How

how to get tested for AIDS

how to get tested for AIDS

AIDS or Auto Immunodeficiency Syndrome is a condition that cripples your immune system and leaves your body defenseless to the most common diseases. It is so crippling that one can die from acquiring something as simple as a common cold. Around the world, it is estimated that there are 34 million carriers of HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, which is responsible for causing AIDS. AIDS prevention becomes of utmost importance when a person starts to become sexually active, as the main means of transmission for HIV is through sexual intercourse. However, it is not limited to a sexual transmitted disease. One can also get the virus through drug use, blood transfers and vertical transmissions. If you suspect that you have had activity that opens you to the possibility of contracting HIV, you should get tested as soon as possible. Knowing how to get tested for AIDS becomes necessary as soon as you suspect virus contraction. If found positive, your doctor or health care provider can offer counseling and referrals for managing the condition. In HIV testing, a window period must always be put in consideration.

The window period is the length of time between the actual contraction of the virus and the time your body shows symptoms in response to the virus's presence. It takes about six to twelve weeks before the body starts producing antibodies to counter the virus. The implications of testing during the window period are discussed below. Here are the ways one can get tested for HIV:

  1. Antibody Test.  When a foreign biological object, such as a virus, infects your body, your immune system produces antibodies to counter it and protect you. These antibodies are special kinds of proteins specific to the kind of virus that has invaded your system. Essentially, the HIV antibody test tries to detect if this HIV-responsive protein is present in your bloodstream, urine or saliva. Any of these fluids can be used in antibody testing, and the results are available one to two weeks after testing. The HIV antibody test, or enzyme-linked immune absorbent test, is common, accurate and very affordable and should be available in a health center or hospital near you.

    With regard to the window period, it must be taken into consideration that your body only produces the protein about seven to twelve weeks after infection (six months in extremely rare cases). Meaning, should you get a test during the window period or the virus’ nesting period, the result may produce a ‘false negative’.

    Also, babies of HIV-positive mothers may produce a ‘false positive’ result as they could inherent their mother’s antibodies for up to 18 months after birth, even if they do not carry the virus themselves.

  2. Rapid Test. The rapid test makes use of the same principle as the antibody test but produces results much quicker: a mere twenty minutes after testing. This test also uses blood, urine or saliva samples to detect HIV induced antibodies in your system.

  3. Home Kit. In using a home sampling kit, a person can collect the blood sample themselves and send it to the laboratory for testing. This is a preferred method for those who may prefer anonymity and privacy. Some home kits are similar to the rapid test technology, wherein results can be seen in minutes.

  4. Antigen Test. Pathogens such as HIV carry antigens that can be used to indicate whether the virus is present in your system or not.  A protein known as P24 is the antigen present in HIV and is produced in high levels in the early stages of an HIV infection. If P24 is detected in your blood, you could be positive for HIV. It must be noted that in advanced stages of HIV infection, P24 production could simmer down to undetectable levels, during which an antigen test can no longer work.

Knowing how to get tested for HIV is a good means of early detection for those who harbor the suspicion of HIV transmission. It is always best to handle the condition in the early stages.


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