Should you get tested for HIV? Many people are confronted with this question because the majority of people are shy to come out in the open with their HIV status for reasons of societal prejudice. Many others feel that testing for HIV could convey some negative message to people about their lifestyle. Whatever may be the reasons it is never the right thing to do. While HIV is usually linked to uncontrolled sex life it is not the only reason for the disease. Some other diseases like tuberculosis, hepatitis, syphilis and herpes may require testing for HIV even after the disease has been diagnosed. The possibilities of being infected with HIV from syringe needles are also high. The truth is that anyone can have HIV regardless of their lifestyle and habits.
Protect your health by testing
One of the most concerning aspects about HIV is that the disease often manifests without any symptoms or may have symptoms that are similar to some other diseases. This is the reason why it can go undetected. According to the CDC (U.S. Centers for Disease Control) there are 1.1 million people in the country who are HIV positive out of which 21 percent people are not aware that they have the disease. Timely detection is necessary to keep the disease under control through medication and to lead normal life. The biggest danger of undetected HIV is that the disease can be spread to others albeit ignorantly. Testing could lead to detection that brings awareness and help people to change their lifestyle that can reduce the risk of transmission of the disease.
Types of tests
According to CDC, the population in the age group of 13 to 64 years should at least test once a year for HIV. This applies across the entire population regardless of the level of risk they are subjected to. Different types of blood tests are done to detect HIV. The most common screen test is the Elisa test. Along with it other tests like oral fluid rapid tests, RNA tests and DNA tests are also done. The Elisa test is the oldest HIV test that has undergone several updates to incorporate the latest advances in researches about HIV.
The test that has now become almost synonymous with HIV is also used for many other diseases like detecting West Nile virus, Lyme disease, syphilis etc. What does Elisa stand for? Enzyme linked immunosorbent assay is the full name of the test that is done on blood serum to detect the presence of an antigen or antibody. This test is still considered to be the most elementary and must do test for HIV detection. The 4th generation antigen / antibody test can detect HIV-1 antigen as well as HIV-1/HIV-2Ab antibody.
In order to protect people who do not have HIV but are highly susceptible in contracting the virus a new preventive method has been discovered. Known as PReP or pre-exposure prophylaxis this medication is capable of preventing the development permanent HIV infection by the virus.