There is life with HIV

How HIV is Diagnosed

How is HIV diagnosed? If you can understand this text, and it is very simple, you will be much closer to understanding the immune window. This way, you will understand the statistical impossibility of having more than 1 wrong exam.

A cosmic storm is needed, it is as if the Universe is tantruming you for this to happen. ”

Because the Universe is very busy with other things to “get in like this”!

How is HIV diagnosed?

What to expect when taking an HIV test?

In summary, two results:

Reagent and non-reagent. An HIV test is used to determine whether you have been infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). This test is performed on a blood or saliva sample. Both very reliable.

The tests available on the public network are no worse than those on the private network. Don't be victimized by slot machines.

While testing options at the service location and at home are extremely accurate, if used correctly, they can return a false negative result if you test right after exposure.

Test objective. Diagnose to Treat Infections.

Treat infections, maintain your normal CD4 count, lower your viral load and, perhaps, make you non-transmitter. Keep in mind that it is advisable that you start treatment as soon as you are diagnosed, right after CD4 tests and viral load. Note, however, that you will have a great responsibility for your health. The success of antiretroviral therapy, ART, will always be in your hands, adherence to treatment is extremely important.

If you fail to adhere, you may experience therapeutic failure, a viral rebound.

It is estimated that more than six hundred thousand people live with HIV in Brazil without diagnosis. This is an epidemic of underreporting.

Testing every three to six months can be recommended for people at high risk of infection, including:

  • Gay or bisexual men
  • Injecting drug users
  • Sex workers

Anyone who practices sex without condoms it is considered vulnerable.

An HIV test can also be done after a person becomes aware of a partner's HIV status and during a medical evaluation after sexual assault.

Types and what they evaluate

Como o HIV é Diagnosticado, Blog Soropositivo.Org
Human disease and infection representing a medical health concept of bacterial virus transfer and spread of infections from human transfusions showing the upper body of a patient torso.

There indirect and direct HIV detection methods. Indirect methods do not detect the virus, but proteins, called Antibodies, which are produced by the immune system in response to the virus. Direct test methods detect antigens (proteins on the surface of the virus) or RNA (the genetic material of the virus).

There are a few test options, which vary in speed, accuracy and ease of use:

  • Rapid on-site testing can provide preliminary results in about 20 minutes. This may require a drop of blood from your finger, an oral swab from your gums, or a urine sample. Of these, the preferred method is the HIV antigen / antibody combination test (Ag / Ab) based on blood.3
  • Standard point-of-care tests are laboratory-based tests that detect only anti-HIV antibodies. Also known as HIV ELISA, the test requires a blood collection
  • Results are usually returned within five to 10 business days. The test is less commonly used today and has been largely replaced by the HIV Ag / Ab test combination.
  • The quick home tests are antibodies, those others, based on saliva that can be purchased online or at many retail pharmacies. 

Test results are confidential and protected by law.

Although less accurate than a point of care test, the home test offers privacy and can provide results in about 20 minutes.4

  • house collection kits can also be purchased online. This antibody test requires a drop of blood placed on a test card, which you send to a laboratory by express mail. You can then receive the results over the phone or online within one business day after the sample is delivered.
  • Acid tests nucleic (NAT) are blood-based tests that detect HIV's RNA. Although expensive, NAT can detect HIV earlier than other forms of testing and may be appropriate if you have recently had high-risk exposure or are experiencing acute symptoms of early infection

NAT is also used to track donated blood or test newborns with suspected HIV. The results are usually returned within a few days.

Any positive result called the preliminary positive-up requires a second confirmatory test to ensure the diagnosis is correct. 

Test accuracy and accuracy

Como o HIV é Diagnosticado, Blog Soropositivo.Org
For those who like math

Os HIV tests are highly accurate if used correctly. However, some test methods are more reliable than others. Inappropriate collection or storage of samples can also impair the accuracy of a test.

In general, point-of-care tests are more accurate than home tests (due in part to home user error), while blood tests tend to be more accurate than saliva or urine tests (due to the higher concentrations of HIV in blood).

Clinics report a 98,5% accuracy rate when using an antibody test and a 99,9% accuracy rate when combined with a confirmatory test. 


This translates into a false-positive result for every 250.000 tests. The latest generation tests promise even better results. It is impossible, creature, to have two wrong results in face of the mathematics that this proposes.

Certain illnesses can also trigger a false positive test result, which means that the test shows HIV positive while the person is not really infected. Diseases that can trigger a false positive include syphilis, lupus and Lyme disease. Confirmatory tests will almost always eliminate these incorrect findings.

Risks and contraindications

There are no contraindications for HIV testing and there are few risks. If blood collection is necessary, you may experience pain, swelling and bruising at the injection site. Dizziness and infection are also possible. It always makes me remember AZT!   

If you are afraid of needles or are afraid of blood, notify the nurse or phlebotomist in advance. Other test options may be available.

 Also, if you have hemophilia or are taking anticoagulants, a child’s size butterfly needle can be used to reduce the risk of bleeding.

Before the test

Como o HIV é Diagnosticado, Blog Soropositivo.Org HIV testing does not require preparation beyond your readiness to do the With that said, HIV remains a highly stigmatized, and people often avoid HIV testing for fear of disclosure.

If you are concerned about your privacy, find a clinic that offers confidential tests where your name is shared only with your health care provider, your insurance company and a government agency. In Brazil, confidentiality is mandatory at all levels

Time, Immune Window and false non-reactants

Como o HIV é Diagnosticado, Blog Soropositivo.Org Time is an important part of HIV testing. If you have been infected with HIV, there will be a period, called an immunological window period, when the test will not provide an accurate result. 

Because HIV tests usually detect antibodies and / or antigens, you need to wait until your body produces enough to get a positive result. Find out more here, in immunological window. If you test too early, you will get a false negative reading. 

Even with NAT, you need to wait until the virus replicates to detectable levels.

Since detectable levels can vary from individual to individual, most clinics will advise you to wait to be tested for HIV after possible exposure:

  1. One to three weeks before doing a NAT
  2. One month before taking an Ag / Ab HIV test combination
  3. Three months before taking any of the other HIV tests, because if another exposure has occurred, another test would be useless.

Therefore, the procedure itself involves three steps: pre-test counseling, HIV testing and post-test counseling. Depending on the test being performed, the process can take 30 to 45 minutes. Call centers can take much longer.

Os Local HIV tests are available at many medical and public health facilities. This includes hospitals, clinics, community-based HIV-related NGOs, antenatal and family planning clinics, youth reception centers, mobile testing sites and drug and alcohol treatment centers.

Food and drink

There are no food or drink restrictions for an HIV test. However, if you are using an oral test at home, avoid brushing your teeth or mouthwashing 30 minutes beforehand, as this can affect the results.

Other Considerations About How HIV Is Diagnosed

It is a mistake to think that there is nothing you can do if you have been exposed to HIV recently. If you had sex without a condom, shared needles, or had any other form of  high risk exposure, can prevent infection by starting HIV post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) within 72 hours.
PEP involves a 28-day course of two or three antiretroviral drugs, depending on the severity of your exposure. Used by health professionals and in cases of rape, the strategy can reduce the risk of infection by up to 79% .6

HIV Post-Exposure Prophylaxis


Counseling - The gray and blurred area of ​​this thing

Pre-test counseling is carried out in a private room with a qualified health professional. During counseling, you may be asked about recent exposure, if any, as well as your sexual or recreational drug practices. The questions are not meant to judge or embarrass you; instead, they help the counselor to better understand his personal risk of infection.

I, Cláudio, see myself with a baseball bat in my hands if the person asks me about my sexual practices.

The counselor will then explain what HIV and AIDS are, how the test is performed, what a period of window period and what positive and negative results mean. If it is determined that you are taking the test too soon, the counselor may ask you to come back when the test is most likely to be accurate.

Feel free to ask any questions you may need. There is no bad question. And feel free not to answer anything about your sexuality.

If you don't talk to your mother about it, who would listen? 😉

Throughout the test
Como o HIV é Diagnosticado, Blog Soropositivo.Org
Yes, it's time for fear! Even worse than the hour of astonishment, for those who watched!

The testing procedure at a clinic can vary depending on whether you are doing a rapid HIV test blood or oral, or a blood test, or a test that involves saliva for HIV antibodies. The urine test, while approved, is rarely used in a clinical setting, in part because it is less accurate than any of the other tests. - Lose hope of peeing in the technician's hand. 

A rapid blood test for HIV is performed as follows:
  1. Your finger is cleaned with an antiseptic cloth.
  2. Using a spring-loaded tool called a lancet, the healthcare professional pricks your finger to draw a drop of blood.
  3. The blood is collected in a small glass tube called a pipette, which is then placed in a reagent called a buffer.
  4. The buffer and two other chemicals (a dyeing agent and a cleaning solution) are placed in a plastic well called a membrane.
  5. After 15 to 20 minutes, the membrane is checked. If the membrane has a dot on the bottom, the test is non-reactive (negative). If the membrane has two points, the test is reactive (preliminarily positive).
  6. A confirmatory blood test is then performed; the results are available a few days later.

A rapid oral HIV test is performed as follows:

  1. An oral swab called a wand is passed between the teeth and the upper and lower gums. The wand must be passed at most once.
  2. The wand is placed in a buffer solution for 20 minutes.
  3. The wand has a results window similar to a home pregnancy test. If the identifier window has a line, the test is non-reactive (negative). If the window has two lines, the test is reactive (preliminarily positive).
  4. A confirmatory blood test is then performed. You will receive the results on the same day you take the test.

Note: If you used a home kit, the free support line listed in the test instructions will advise you best.

A blood test for HIV antibodies is performed as follows:
  1. A rubber band is placed on the arm to make a vein swell.
  2. The skin around the planned injection site is cleaned with an antiseptic pad.
  3. A wing-shaped device called butterfly needle is inserted into the vein. This needle, which is connected to a narrow catheter, is less likely to swing when blood is being collected than other types.
  4. Between 1 to 4 milliliters (mL) of blood are drawn into a vacuum-sealed test tube called a vacutainer.
  5. The needle is then removed and your arm bandaged.
  6. The tube is sent to a laboratory. If the sample is reactive (preliminarily positive), the laboratory immediately performs a confirmatory test using the same blood sample.
  7. You will be informed of your results in a week or two.
An HIV ELISA saliva test is performed as follows:
  1. An oral swab called a wand is placed between your cheek and gums for two to five minutes.
  2. The wand is placed in a buffer solution.
  3. The wand handle is then broken.
  4. The buffer solution is sealed and sent to the laboratory.
  5. If the sample is reagent (preliminarily positive), the laboratory immediately performs a confirmatory test using the same sample.
  6. You return to get the test results in a week or two.
After the test

Some people will say that the most difficult part of an HIV test is not getting tested, but waiting for the results. This is especially true if you have a preliminary positive result and have to wait several days or more for the final results.

The wait can often be distressing; So much so, in fact, that one in 15 people will not return to receive their results, according to a study published on International Journal of STDs and AIDS.7

There are several things you can do to maintain your composure while waiting:

  • Surround yourself with friends and family to support you.
  • Take it one step at a time. Don't spend hours searching the web every "what if".
  • Exercise to help lift your mood and fight depression.
  • Avoid alcohol, recreational drugs or even caffeine to remain calm and present.
  • If the worry starts to consume you, remember that there is an effective treatment, whatever your income.

If you are unable to handle the situation and have no one to talk to, call the Hot line - They have a lot to offer you! Are amazing.

Interpreting the results

The time it takes to get the results can vary, we are talking about the time of the test result, not the immunological window. But the test results are only delivered in person. It is prohibited by law to deliver HIV test results over the internet, regardless of the media used.

The test results are interpreted as follows:

  • If the preliminary test is not reactive, you are HIV negative, which means that you were not infected or tested too early. Although you do not need further testing, unless the timing of your test is not optimal, as for reasons of incomplete immune window, you will be informed about ways to reduce future risk and whether routine tests are necessary if you are at high risk of infection.
  • If the preliminary test is reactive, the result is considered a preliminary reagent. To confirm the result, the laboratory will use a more sophisticated test called an HIV differentiation test and possibly NAT. If confirmatory tests are non-reactive, you can be sure with a high level of confidence that you are HIV negative.
  • If your preliminary and confirmatory tests are reactive, you are HIV positive, which means you have been infected with HIV. Post-test counseling will focus on your emotional and medical needs.

Post-test counseling is always carried out, regardless of the test results. The aim of counseling is twofold: to help you understand what the results mean and to provide you with information about “what's next” to stay safe and healthy.

A positive HIV test result can be shared with the Health Surveillance, State health department and your doctor.

Follow-up - There is Life with HIV

When you are diagnosed with HIV positive, you will be informed that there are treatment options and support systems to connect you to medical care. 

You can also be referred to a care browser that can help you with referrals and any financial, emotional, family, legal or drug treatment services you need.

If you feel confused, you can ask to discuss these things another day or use the time to ask as many questions as you need. Coming to terms with an HIV diagnosis is a process. Take your time! The world is not overneither will your life! Glad you were diagnosed, with the current drug resources, you can have a long and healthy life! But don't get in the way of those who trivialize AIDS. The comparisons made between HIV / AIDS and diabetes, for example, are inconsistent and even disrespectful to the difficulties of people living with diabetes. No disease is easy to be experienced and it is only simple for those who do not have them or do not know them.

Living with a disease or condition is always a difficult journey! 

It is not impossible to overcome it and have a long and relatively healthy life and I have a duty, a responsibility to not play with the lives of people who come to this blog in search of serious information. 

However, if you are ready to proceed and the test was performed at a clinic or hospital, you may be asked to do additional tests called CD4 count e HIV viral load.

Diagnosed With HIV - Things to Learn: What is CD4?

The CD4 count measures the number of immune cells (called CD4 T cells) in the blood and helps establish the strength of the immune system. The viral load uses technology similar to NAT and counts how many viruses are in a microliter (µL) of blood.

Both tests help to establish your initial condition before treatment and will be routinely repeated to assess your response to therapy.

HIV treatment ideally, it should be started at the time of diagnosis. Genetic testing can be used to identify which drugs work best for you. Drug therapy itself usually involves a daily dose and, if taken as prescribed, can guarantee a normal quality of life and a Life expectancy almost normal.

You will have ongoing medical assessments to monitor your condition for the rest of your life, the schedule of which will be determined by your doctor.

A positive HIV diagnosis does not mean the same thing as before. Advances in HIV therapy now allow you to live a long, healthy life and never face the prospect of a serious illness related to HIV or AIDS.

An invitation to reflection

Getting an HIV diagnosis can be a life-changing event, and there is usually no way of knowing how you will react to the news. 

Whatever your answer, accept that it is normal to react like this! It is a strong thud, a blow from the front with a wall!

Some people may even feel a sense of relief that they no longer have to ask themselves about their status. Does not make sense! It makes sense to use condom. SCORE.

By knowing your HIV status, you can make an informed choice about how to protect others from infection and yourself against reinfection.

This does not suggest that living with HIV does not have its challenges. If you are having trouble dealing with the situation, consider joining a support group or seeking individual advice from a qualified therapist.

On the other hand, if you are experiencing extreme depression or anxiety, ask for a referral to a psychiatrist, who can offer you medication and therapy to help you deal with the situation better.

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