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Get Tested

When Should You Get Tested for HIV?

HIV is no longer a life-threatening disease. However, it is still a serious infection that must be treated in order to avoid harm to oneself or others. HIV infection, the virus that causes AIDS, can be treated. However, if you suspect you’ve been contaminated, you should get tested as soon as possible. Unprotected sexual behaviour, as well as the exchange or reuse of possibly contaminated needles, require testing.
An infected mother giving the virus to her child through her breast milk, for example, is a less common route of transmission. Receiving tainted donor blood or organs can potentially lead to infection. Because donor blood and organs are routinely tested for HIV, this is a very unusual route of infection.

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How Can HIV Be Detected Early?

To detect exposure to this sexually transmitted virus, a variety of tests are available.

  • Self-testing kits and rapid tests
    • Rapid tests and self-testing kits are most effective three to six months after exposure. They provide results quickly (within 20 minutes), however they are not conclusive. A positive result from such a test would need to be followed up with a more sensitive test.
  • Antibody testing of the third generation
    • Within three months of initial exposure, these tests are capable of detecting indications of exposure. These tests are extremely trustworthy, although the findings do not appear right away. Test results can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive.
  • Tests of the fourth generation
    • Within one month of exposure, a newer, fourth-generation antibody/antigen test may be able to detect indications of exposure. This modern test, unlike older tests, looks for signs of a viral antigen (particular protein) that would eventually cause antibodies to be produced. The fourth-generation test results could take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks to arrive.

When Should You Get Tested for HIV?

As previously stated, most HIV tests function by identifying antibodies to the infection.
These antibodies can take up to three months to form and become detectable. A newer, fourth-generation test combines the detection of these antibodies with the identification of a critical viral antigen implicated in the antibody response. Within one month of exposure, this test may be accurate.
If you are tested soon after a suspected potential exposure event and the results are negative, you should have a second test three months later to be sure.

Who Should Get an HIV Test?

  • Anyone who has engaged in sexual activity without the use of a condom
  • Anyone who is pregnant or has shared a non-sterile needle is at risk.
  • Anyone who has had unprotected sex with other males after having oral, anal, or vaginal sex with a guy (or men).
  • Anyone suffering from hepatitis, TB, or a sexually transmitted infection.

When Should You Visit PhysicianOne Urgent Care?

PhysicianOne Urgent Treatment is here 7 days a week for high-quality urgent care at a fraction of the cost of the Emergency Room, including HIV testing, if you’re concerned about probable exposure to a sexually transmitted disease like HIV. Call 1.855.349.2828 or come in for a convenient walk-in visit today. Find a location near you and check in online today if you want to save time!