Why testing for HIV is essential

Testing for HIV has received increasing exposure with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advocating for regular tests for sexually active individuals. This is essential in order to take necessary precautions and also to protect one’s loved ones in addition to taking additional precautions as far sexual intercourse is concerned.

There are different methods of testing for HIV. These are; the HIV antibody test, the antigen test also known as the P24 test, the PCR test, fourth generation tests and also HIV home sampling and HIV home testing.

The most common and recommended method of testing is the HIV antibody test. They are believed to be accurate and are also cost effective. For a person who is not infected by HIV, the test results show that they do not have antibodies to HIV.

Photo: hyena reality/freedigitalphotos.net

Photo: hyena reality/freedigitalphotos.net

It is however important to have the same test taken again after 3 months so as to give room for the window period during which the antibodies may develop in cases where it is too early to tell whether or not a person is infected with the virus.

The HIV is transmitted through the exchange of body fluids with a person who is infected with the virus. This may be through sexual contact; oral, vaginal or anal; even though the degree for risk is not the same for the three. It may also be through sharing sharp objects, during the delivery of babies from the mother’s womb and even through blood transfusion.  The process of testing for HIV is often accompanied by counselling because in most cases, the individual may be battling with feelings of confusion and disillusionment which in turn may cause them to do something drastic or dangerous.

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