What are the early symptoms of HIV?
After you’ve been infected with HIV, in the first couple of months you’ll notice symptoms similar to that of the flu. These include headache, rashes, pain in the muscles and joints, fever, and neck swelling around the lymph nodes.
HIV can spread quickly during the early stages of infection, which is also known as primary infection (or acute HIV). As soon as you notice these symptoms after having unprotected sex or a blood transfusion, take an HIV test to see if HIV is the cause.
Early detection is essential for successful long-term treatment and survival with HIV. Home tests enable you to learn whether or not you have the virus earlier than any other testing methods. This can help you limit the virus’s effect on you. Early detection can also protect those around you from getting the virus.
Home HIV test is also an accurate way to test for HIV. But, it may take longer than tests performed at a doctor’s office to detect the virus after you’ve been exposed. The HIV levels in saliva are lower than the HIV levels in the blood. HIV home test lets you to discreetly know your own HIV status at a place and a time that is convenient to you. Each home test works differently. There are only two available home HIV tests: the Home Access HIV-1 Test System and the OraQuick In-home HIV test. When buying home test online make sure the HIV test is FDA-approved.
Home Access HIV-1 Test System
The Home Access HIV-1 Test System is a home collection kit, which involves pricking your finger to collect a blood sample on a special piece of paper. Then you must send the sample to a licensed laboratory, and then call in for the results as early as the next business day. Thet will give you a PIN number so that your results remain anonymous. If the test is positive, a follow-up test shall be performed immediately. Tests results include the follow-up test. The producer provides confidential counseling and referral to treatment.
OraQuick In-Home HIV Test
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test can provide rapid results at home. The testing process involves swabbing your mouth for an oral fluid sample and place the swab in a tube with a developing solution. Test results are available in 20 to 40 minutes. The result is negative if one line appears. Tests that show 2 lines mean you may be positive. If you get positive result, you will need a follow-up test. The producer provides confidential counseling and referral to follow-up testing sites. The level of antibody in oral fluid is lower than it is in blood, therefore, oral fluid tests find infection later after exposure than do blood tests. HIV levels in blood are higher than HIV levels in saliva. Therefore, the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test may not detect HIV as quickly after infection as a blood test would.
What’s next if the test is positive?
When you get a positive result, the lab should retest your sample to make sure it wasn’t inaccurate. Getting positive result on the follow-up test confirms that you have HIV.
Consult your doctor as soon as possible to discuss your treatment options. Your doctor can get you started on antiretroviral therapy, which is medication that helps stop the HIV infection from developing.
Practice safe sex, use condoms or dental dams with any and all sexual partners, and avoid sharing needles.
Additional help from counselors or social workers associated with HIV or AIDS clinics, can be taken. This will help you deal with issues related to treatment. They can assist you navigate transportation, scheduling and finances.
Seek the help of a support group or therapist, whether in person or online. It can help you cope with the emotions and health issues that come with an HIV diagnosis. Also, speaking privately with a therapist or being a part of a community made up of others with the same medical condition, can help you understand how to lead an active and healthy life after diagnosis.