Do you want to get tested for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)? There are many reasons why one might want an HIV test. You could be doing a routine test to check your sexual health. You may want to test with your partner to ensure that you are both free from HIV before starting a new relationship. You may also want to get tested if you suspect that you have HIV as you are showing symptoms. Whatever the reason, a HIV test will be able to confirm whether you have HIV and a positive result means that you will be able to receive appropriate medicines that can help to suppress the effects of the virus and live healthily. But what is it like to get tested for HIV? Here is how HIV tests work.
HIV tests work because patients who are infected with HIV will produce antibodies as the body’s immune system responds to the infection. HIV tests will be able to detect the antibodies that are in an infected patient’s bloodstream.
HIV patients generally do not produce antibodies until about 2 to 12 weeks after the infection, which means that there is a window period where the HIV test may be negative even though HIV is present in the body. Because of this window period, some patients may be unsure of when they should get tested. Doctors generally recommend that, if a patient has recently had high-risk exposure to HIV, the patient should get tested multiple times over the course of the window period to ensure the most accurate results. The most accurate test is taken three months after the potential exposure.
4th generation tests: Detecting antigens
Because the body can take up to three months to produce HIV antibodies, researchers have come up with an updated method of testing that detects more than just the HIV antibodies. There is now an HIV test that can detect both antibodies and antigens, the part of the virus that triggers the body’s immune response and results in the production of antibodies. Because antigens usually show up in your blood about two to six weeks after infection, these tests can accurately detect HIV within a shorter window period.
Getting tested at the clinic
To get tested for HIV, you must visit a HIV clinic in Singapore. Private HIV clinics provide confidential testing, which means that your test results will not appear on your health records.
When you visit the clinic, the doctor may ask you some questions about your sexual history. It is critical that you respond truthfully, as the doctor would be able to advise you on your potential risk and what other STD tests you might need to take.
For a HIV test, blood will need to be drawn. After which, the blood will be sent to the lab to get tested. You will need to wait a few days for the results. You may choose to return to the clinic to receive the results with the doctor.