You might be wondering how to find out if someone has contracted HIV. Like any medical diagnostic procedure, you need to undergo some tests to verify if you are positive or negative with the virus. As HIV symptoms do not immediately manifest upon contraction, it is sometimes hard to tell if a person already has the infection. For that reason, HIV testing is advised, especially on high-risk individuals who are sexually active and have had multiple sexual partners. Doing so is also a foolproof way of seeking answers to your worries about the possibility of getting the disease.
Global statistics showed approximately 38.4 million individuals across various countries were living with HIV in 2020. Meanwhile, there were 1.5 new infections added and recorded in 2021. How did we come up with these numbers? Again, we did not merely pull this data out of thin air. Thousands of HIV screenings were done daily worldwide to support these statistics.
Notably, approximately 85% of people with HIV knew their status, while the remaining 15% were in the dark about their status. Without HIV testing, it will be impossible to determine the best treatment. Therefore, HIV testing is an essential first step to HIV prevention, care, and support services.
HIV testing has become more accessible today than ever. With more technological breakthroughs in medical science, there is now more than one way of getting tested for HIV. Here, we will explain the different HIV testing popular now-a-days.
Home HIV Test
Believe it or not, you can get tested at home with an HIV self-test or rapid self-test kit. It is an antibody screening tool that can be used outside a clinic or hospital. A home HIV test can get your result in as quick as 20 minutes. If you are living in the United States, you can buy an HIV self-test at a pharmacy or online. Currently, the US is the only country where an oral fluid test for home HIV screening is available.
How do I get started with the home HIV test?
To perform an HIV self-test at home, you must collect your oral fluid sample by swabbing. After the sample is ready for testing, the process will take about 20 minutes. You must accurately follow the instructions for the test to be successful.
HIV RNA Test
One of which is an HIV RNA test is the second process. A physician may recommend having an HIV RNA test if you need a test done quickly after close exposure to the virus.
So, what does HIV RNA test offer? This HIV RNA test detects genetic materials of the virus instead of the antibodies that your body makes in response to the infection. This test’s results are available more immediately and have a shorter window period than other HIV tests. The process of this test involves three steps:
Step 1: A medical technician will swab your arm with an antiseptic solution.
Step 2: A sample of your blood will be taken from a vein in your arms.
Step 3: A laboratory test.
On the flip side, taking HIV RNA may cost a lot more. It is an expensive HIV test option. Probably that is the reason doctors do not recommend it so frequently.
CVS HIV Test
CVS HIV screening is only available to patients living in the United States. These testing kits are available at CVS pharmacies across the country.
CVS offers an OraQuick instant HIV test that detects the antibodies your body produces to combat the virus. Like home HIV testing, you need to collect your own sample to be tested. You can complete the whole procedure in your home without worrying about shipping your oral sample to a lab for analysis.
Within a few minutes, a colored line will appear on the test tube. This means that the test is working. If only one line appears, you have a negative HIV result. However, if a second brightly colored line appears below the first one, this means you have tested positive for HIV.
There are 1,100 CVS in-store healthcare clinics known as Minute Clinics across the country.
You can choose two types of HIV treatment: taking HIV pills or shots. Taking HIV pills are recommended for patients who are just at the beginning of their HIV treatment. Presently, different FDA-approved single pill and combination HIV drugs are available in the market. On the other hand, if you have had an undetectable viral load or have been virally suppressed for at least three months, you can consider HIV shots instead. However, only a qualified doctor will recommend the right procedure. HIV shots are long-acting injections given once a month or once every other month. This may vary depending on your personal treatment plan as prescribed by your doctor.
The following are some of the HIV medications available in the United States:
- abacavir, or ABC (Ziagen)
- abacavir/lamivudine, or ABC/3TC (Epzicom)
- abacavir/lamivudine/zidovudine, or ABC/3TC/ZDV (Trizivir)
- atazanavir or ATV (Reyataz)
- atazanavir/cobicistat, or ATV/c (Evotaz)
- bictegravi/tenofoviral afenamide, or BIC/FTC/TAF (Biktarvy)
- cabategravir (Vocabria)
- cabotegravir extended-release injectable suspension (Apretude)
- cabotegravir/rilpivirine (Cabenuva)
- darunavir, or DRV (Prezista)
- darunavir/cobicistat, or DRV/c (Prezcobix)
- darunavir/cobicistat/tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, or DRV/c/TAF/FTC (Symtuza)
- delavirdine, or DLV (Rescriptor)
- didanosine, or ddI (Videx)
- dolutegravir, or DTG (Tivicay)
- dolutegravir/abacavir/lamivudine, or DTG/ABC/3TC (Triumeq)
- dolutegravir/lamivudine, or DTG/3TC (Dovato)
- dolutegravir/rilpivirine, or DTG/RPV (Juluca)
- doravirine, or DOR (Pifeltro)
- doravirine/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/lamivudine, or DOR/TDF/3TC (Delstrigo)
- efavirenz, or EFV (Sustiva)
- efavirenz/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine, or EFV/TDF/FTC (Atripla)
- elvitegravir, or EVG (Vitekta)
- elvitegravir/cobicistat/tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine, or EVG/c/TDF/FTC (Stribild)
- elvitegravir/tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, or EVG/c/TAF/FTC (Genvoya)
- emtricitabine/tenofovir alafen (Truvada)
- enfuvirtide, or ENF or T-20 (Fuzeon)
- emtricitabine, or FTC (Emtriva)
- etravirine, or ETR (Intelence)
- fosamprenavir, or FPV (Lexiva)
- fostemsavir (Rukobia)
- ibalizumab-uiyk, or IBA (Trogarzo)
- indinavir, or IDV (Crixivan)
- lamivudine, or 3TC (Epivir)
- lopinavir ritonavir, or LPV/r (Kaletra)
- maraviroc, or MVC (Selzentry)
- nelfinavir, or NFV (Viracept)
- nevirapine, or NVP (Viramune)
- raltegravir, or RAL (Isentress)
- rilpivirine, or RPV (Edurant)
- rilpivirine/ tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine, or RPV/TDF/FTC (Complera)
- rilpivirine/tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, or RPV/TAF/FTC (Odefsey)
- ritonavir, or RTV (Norvir)
- saquinavir, or SQV (Fortovase, Invirase)
- stavudine, or d4T (Zerit)
- tenofovir alafenamide, or TAF (Vemlidy)
- tenofovir alafenamide/emtricitabine, or TAF/FTC (Descovy)
- tenofovir disoproxil fumarate, or TDF (Viread)
- tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/emtricitabine, or TDF/FTC (Truvada)
- tenofovir disoproxil fumarate/lamivudine, or TDF/3TC (Cimduo)
- tipranavir, or TPV (Aptivus)
- zidovudine, or ZDV (Retrovir)
- zidovudine/lamivudine, or ZDV/3TC (Combivir)