HIV is the human immunodeficiency virus. HIV is spread through contact with infected blood or bodily fluids. The most common forms of transmission are sexual contact and the sharing of needles or paraphernalia during drug use. HIV weakens the body’s immune system by attacking CD4 T-cells. This leaves the body unable to fight off infections and diseases which it would normally not be threatened by. In some cases, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). Typically, a person is said to have developed AIDS when their T-cell count drops below a certain point or when they have developed certain infections or cancers. The sooner an HIV infection is diagnosed, the quicker a treatment plan can be developed. Effective treatment is key to limiting the damage that HIV does to the immune system. An HIV test is the first step in identifying an infection. Receiving an HIV test is essential for those whose behaviors put them at risk for infection.
An easy, confidential HIV test
At Request a Test, we have access to labs all over the country. We use the same testing facilities that are employed by many hospitals and physicians for their testing needs. All of our labs operate on a walk in basis so there is no need to schedule appointments. Ordering your HIV test with us eliminates the need to go through your doctor or insurance. No one needs to know about your testing needs but you.
Types of HIV tests
Request a Test offers a variety of options for receiving an HIV test. HIV tests can be ordered separately or as part of a package containing other STD tests for greater savings. The most common HIV test for routine screening is the HIV Antigen/Antibody Test. This test is available by itself or as part of our Essential STD Panel and Peace of Mind package. The HIV RNA Qualitative test is a popular choice for recent exposure testing. This test is available by itself or as part of our Recent Exposure Comprehensive package. For pricing and a full listing of available HIV tests, please go to http://requestatest.com/hiv-testing.
Symptoms of HIV
Early HIV symptoms are often flulike. These may include fever, headache, diarrhea, muscle aches, nausea, fatigue, sore throat, and a rash on the torso that doesn’t itch. These initial symptoms often go away on their own. After this, HIV can remain in the body for years without displaying any symptoms. During this time, the HIV virus is continuing to attack and destroy the immune system. Diagnosing and treating HIV early is important to keeping the virus under control. An HIV test will help identify infection so a treatment plan can be developed.
Who should get a HIV test?
Anyone who is sexually active is at risk for HIV infection. The use of protective devices, like condoms, lessens, but does not eliminate the possibility of infection. Those who engage in high risk activities like unprotected sex, sex with multiple partners, and intravenous drug use are especially at risk. An HIV test can help ensure that your health is not in danger. Women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant should get an HIV test as it is possible to spread the infection to their infant during birth or breast feeding.
Why get a HIV test?
If left untreated, HIV can develop into AIDS which can cause serious health problems and may be fatal. Those whose immune systems have been crippled by HIV are often unable to fight off infections that would not be dangerous under normal circumstances. HIV infection can leave the body susceptible to a number of forms of cancer.
When to get a HIV test
The center for disease control recommends that all adults receive an HIV test at least once. Those who are sexually active or engage in high risk behaviors should consider getting tested more often. In the event that a person is stuck by a needle or exposed to blood known to be infected with HIV, it is advisable to receive a HIV test. Pregnant women should receive an HIV test as early as possible to avoid any health complications for their babies.
When receiving an HIV test, it is important to pay attention to the incubation period for that test. Generally, tests that look for viral DNA are effective sooner after exposure than tests that look for antibodies. If you are seeking an HIV test due to a specific contact, maintaining an awareness of how long it has been since that contact will help you pick the best test for your situation.
Where can I get a HIV test?
Request a Test contracts with 2 of the largest labs in the United States to provide you with 1000s of lab collection centers nationwide. When you order your HIV test with us, we will find the lab location that is most convenient for you. Once your order is complete, you can go to the lab any time during their business hours. To find the lab location nearest to you or to view a complete list of available lab locations, please go to http://requestatest.com/testinglocations.
HIV test preparation
There are no special preparations necessary for an HIV test.
HIV test procedure
Upon arrival at the lab, you will be subjected to a simple blood collection.
HIV test accuracy
At Request a Test we use only nationally accredited labs with highly trained personnel and state of the art equipment to ensure the highest possible accuracy in your HIV test results.
HIV test results
The turnaround time for HIV tests varies. Please refer to an individual test’s listing to verify how quickly it will see results. You will be notified by e-mail as soon as your results are available. You can access your results online or call to speak to a representative. Results can also be sent by fax or mail by special request.
The goal of HIV treatment is to limit the virus’s reproduction and preserve the immune system. Early diagnosis and proper treatment may prevent HIV from ever developing into AIDS. There are a number of HIV strains and a variety of treatment options. It is important to consult with a doctor to determine the best treatment plan for your situation.