The Centers for Disease Control recommends HIV testing as part of routine medical care for everyone between the ages of 13 to 64. This may seem like a drastic step but they recommended this step in September 2006. That should tell you how serious they consider the disease of AIDS.
The CDC suggests that everyone have at least one test in his or her lifetime but yearly tests should be conducted for those people at high risk.
Not Always Accurate
The sad fact about HIV testing is that it is not accurate immediately after a person has been infected. It takes about twelve weeks for HIV antibodies to develop. In some rare cases it may take six to twelve months for the body to show these antibodies.
If you dont realize you may be at risk, signs and symptoms of HIV and AIDS will not show up for up to ten years. This is a scary thought because even though the signs and symptoms are not visible, they can still infect other people with the virus.
For many years the only test for the HIV virus was the ELISA test that looks for the antibodies in a sample of blood. The emotional toll can be terrible because with the early tests it would take up to two weeks to receive the results. If the first results are possible, then a second test is performed to confirm the first test.
The second test is called the Western Blot test. Combining the results of the two tests will tell you if you have HIV. The first test could give you a false positive that is why it is so important to follow through with another testing.
Today there are newer and more effective tests that also will give the results quicker. Some tests will show results in as little as twenty minutes. These tests will use a sample of your blood or from material collected from your upper and lower gums. This test is just as effective as the blood test and eliminates drawing blood and the risk of an accidental needle prick to the health giver.
If the test shows positive, a second blood test will be required with drawn blood. The tests are new and certified to be used in laboratories only, so they may not be available to all areas of the country.
Anyone who can surf the Internet can find many home HIV tests. This gives you the opportunity to have the test in the privacy of your home without going to a doctor or a clinic. These tests cannot be legally marketed in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration has approved one HIV test for home use.
Home Access Health makes it and if the test is positive, the test results are retested. It isnt like a home pregnancy test. You are asked to send in a drop of your blood then call in to a toll-free number to receive the results of the test. You are guaranteed privacy and anonymity because you are identified only with a code number that is in your testing kit.