When Do Symptoms Occur
Some people have flu-like symptoms within two to four weeks after infection, but others may not feel sick or not develop symptoms at all until later.
See a healthcare provider if you have symptoms of HIV and think you may have been exposed to HIV. Getting tested for HIV is the only way to know for sure.
You can prevent HIV by using condoms correctly every time you have sex pre-exposure prophylaxis, a prevention method in which the HIV-negative partner takes daily HIV medicine to prevent HIV and treatment as prevention, a method in which the HIV-positive partner takes daily HIV medicine to achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load.
Only antigen/antibody tests or nucleic acid tests can diagnose acute HIV infection. NATs look for actual virus in the blood, and antigen/antibody tests look for HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are produced by your immune system when youre exposed to viruses like HIV, and antigens are foreign substances that cause your immune system to activate.
However, no test can detect HIV immediately after infection. NATs can usually tell if you have an HIV infection 10 to 33 days after exposure, while antigen/antibody tests can tell 18 to 45 days after exposure.
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Mouth ulcers or sores
What Is Usually The First Sign Of Hiv
- Swollen lymph nodes: Lymph nodes are a part of the bodys immune system that helps get rid of bacteria and viruses. An HIV infection, like many other infections, can cause the inflammation of lymph nodes, which can be felt as round or nodular swellings in the armpit, groin, and neck. The swelling is often associated with aches and pains in these areas.
How Accurate Is An Hiv Test After 2 Weeks
It will depend on the type of HIV test. Generally speaking, HIV tests are highly accurate when theyre performed correctly and after the proper window period.
An antibody test may not be accurate after 2 weeks because it typically takes the body a few weeks or even months to produce HIV antibodies.
An antibody/antigen test can technically detect HIV in as little as 18 days, or about 2.6 weeks.
According to a 2017 study, only 25 percent of people with HIV will receive a positive test result within 13.0 to 14.8 days of taking an antibody/antigen test. After 17.8 to 19.2 days, that ratio improves to 50 percent. After 43.1 to 44.3 days, the test will detect HIV in 99 percent of HIV-positive people.
An RNA test can detect HIV in 10 to 14 days, according to the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. The National Cancer Institute states that an RNA test can detect HIV .
You May Like: Kidney Infection At Home Test
How Long After Hiv Infection Can It Be Detected
HIV is a virus that enters the persons body via sexual intercourse with the infected person and sharing the medical syringes used for injecting drugs is the major cause of AIDS.
The HIV virus is a virus variant that can completely destroy a persons immunity, causing mouth and ulcers as common symptoms. Fatigue, high fever, night sweat, etc. These are the symptoms that can help the person know about the introduction of HIV. HIV is a virus that cannot be cured and stays in the body forever but is controllable using the medicine. If not controlled, it can cause AIDS and completely destroy the immune system.
The HIV virus cannot be detected within a few hours of exposure, and the person must wait at least 72 hours for symptoms to appear and the medical report to show a positive test. The time between exposure and the test is referred to as a time window, and it can vary depending on many factors, most notably the test was chosen.
HIV enters the human body within three stages and can be controlled easily in the early stages. The first stage is acute HIV. At this stage, the body consists of a lot of HIVS in the blood and the symptoms start to show up in the person and enter into the time window.
Hiv Is Detected With A Blood Test
Blood tests are the most common and reliable tests for HIV. The virus is detected by taking a sample of your blood either with a conventional blood test or a rapid test .There is a short period of time between exposure to HIV and the ability for tests to detect HIV or its antibodies. This is often referred to as the ‘window period’ between 2 and 12 weeks.
Most tests used in Australia can detect HIV as early as 2 to 4 weeks after infection.
If your blood test shows that HIV or its antibodies are present, you are HIV-positive.
If you have no antibodies in your blood you are HIV-negative. Sometimes negative results might also mean you are in the window period, so you might need a follow-up blood test to make sure.
Read Also: Will Keflex Treat A Bladder Infection
What Is An Hiv Test
If you have been exposed to HIV, one kind of HIV test can detect proteins made in your body called antibodies, but this will not detect a very recent infection. Another test can detect genetic material from the HIV virus before these antibodies develop, which indicates an acute infection. When either of these are detected, the HIV test result is reactive or positive, indicating the presence of the HIV virus.
Ninety nine percent of people who have been exposed to HIV will develop detectable levels of antibodies within 6 weeks. In very rare circumstances, it can take up to 3 months to develop antibodies to HIV following infection.
Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
- Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
- Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.
Recommended Reading: Who Can Diagnose A Yeast Infection
How Does Hiv Testing Work
First, its important to understand the basics of HIV testing. HIV is a virus, so it is detected through an antibody test. The virus can be detected in as little as 2 weeks after exposure with up to a 99% accuracy rating.
There are several types of HIV tests that doctors give out, depending on the estimated time between exposure. Most tests have the highest accuracy when they are given 3 months after exposure. 3rd generation antibody tests are the most common and require a blood sample that is tested at a lab. 4th generation antibody/antigen tests can detect HIV within just 1 month of exposure. Results from these tests take a few days to a few weeks, but they are highly accurate.
Rapid tests are also available for faster results within just 20 minutes. However, the accuracy rating for rapid tests is lower, so a doctor may recommend a second test if the results are positive.
Normally, a doctor will draw a sample of blood for testing, sometimes it is done through saliva or urine testing. The cost of this type of test is typically covered by insurance. Many healthcare and STD clinics offer free or discounted testing services.
What Are The Types Of Hiv Tests
There are three types of tests used to diagnose HIV infection: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests . Your health care provider can determine the appropriate HIV test for you. How soon each test can detect HIV infection differs, because each test has a different window period. The window period is the time between when a person may have been exposed to HIV and when a test can accurately detect HIV infection.
- Antibody tests check for HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid. HIV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HIV infection. Most rapid tests and home use tests are antibody tests.
- Antigen/antibody tests can detect both HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in the blood.
- NATs look for HIV in the blood.
A persons initial HIV test will usually be either an antibody test or an antigen/antibody test. NATs are very expensive and not routinely used for HIV screening unless the person had a high-risk exposure or a possible exposure with early symptoms of HIV infection.
When an HIV test is positive, a follow-up test will be conducted. Sometimes people will need to visit a health care provider to take a follow-up test. Other times, the follow-up test may be performed in a lab using the same blood sample that was provided for the first test. A positive follow-up test confirms that a person has HIV.
Talk to your health care provider about your HIV risk factors and the best type of HIV test for you.
Also Check: Why Are Diabetics At Risk For Infection
After Testing Positive For Hiv What Can A Person Expect During Their First Visit With A Health Care Provider
After testing positive for HIV, a persons first visit with a health care provider includes a review of the persons health and medical history, a physical exam, and several lab tests. The health care provider also explains the benefits of HIV treatment and discusses ways to reduce the risk of passing HIV to others.
The information collected during a persons initial visit is used to make decisions about HIV treatment.
How Long Does It Take To See The Signs Of Hiv
The signs and symptoms of HIV may first appear within two to four weeks of infection. The stage in which the symptoms appear is called the stage of acute HIV infection. The symptoms appear due to the resistance or fight of the immune system against HIV. In the initial stage, the virus multiplies rapidly and spreads throughout the body. It targets and destroys the CD4 cells . As a result, the level of HIV in the blood and the chances of transmission at this stage are very high. It is crucial to recognize the early signs and seek medical help, since early diagnosis and treatment of HIV gets the best results.
Recommended Reading: What Remedies For Urinary Tract Infection
Why Does It Take So Long For Hiv To Get Detected
There are a lot of factors that can contribute to the extension of the time window that the disease may not be detected within the minimum time frame due to many factors, like the type of test, carried out and previous medical history.
There are many tests that are present that can be used to detect the presence of HIV in the body and every test carries a time limit before it can detect the virus. The first test is the nucleic acid test that is carried out by extracting the nucleus from the virus and can take 18 days to detect after the test.
The second test is the antibody test that is carried out using a drop of blood and can detect HIV within 45 days of exposure to HIV. The third test is the antibody test. This kind of test is the fastest and the most reliable to show the presence of the HIV virus and can take at least 23 days.
The most important consideration is your personal medical history. Because many diseases are similar and the most common symptoms, such as fever, have a large time window, a person suffering from a series of diseases may take a long time to recognize the introduction of the virus.
But if there is no medical history, then the symptoms can match and the person can get a test to be sure about the exposure. The HIV virus can only be detected via a medical test and there are no other alternatives.
What To Expect With Hiv Testing
For a lab test, you might need to call your doctor to schedule it. Some public health- clinics take walk-ins.
A technician will take a small blood sample and send it to a lab. Some immunoassay tests check your urine or fluids from your mouth , but there aren’t as many antibodies in these, so you may get false negatives.
With home blood tests, you prick your finger to get a small blood sample that you send to a lab. You call to get your result, and you don’t have to give your name. If it’s positive, the lab will also do a follow-up test to double-check.
With home oral fluid tests, you swab your upper and lower gums and test the sample in a vial. About 1 in 12 people who are infected get a false negative from this test. If itâs positive, get a lab test to confirm.
How long does it take to get HIV results? This depends on what kind of test you had. Rapid tests provide answers in less than a half-hour. With a standard blood test or antibody/antigen test, you should expect results in a few days. It may take several days to get results from an NAT test. Urine test results could take up to 2 weeks.
Also Check: Can A Uti Feel Like A Yeast Infection
Should You Begin Contact Tracing Even If You Havent Developed Symptoms
Once you know you have been exposed, you should make anyone you had contact with after the time of exposure aware, Dr. Kesh said. You dont need to let them know if you saw the person the day after an exposure, but after that point, I think its safest to let other people you have had contact with know you were exposed. If nothing else, it helps them assess their own risk.
More importantly, if you do develop symptoms and especially if you test positive for COVID-19 its important to take action on contact tracing. If you become ill with COVID-19, you should notify anyone with close contact to you less than six feet away for more than 15 minutes that they should quarantine for 14 days, get tested, and wear a mask to prevent possible transmission to others,David Cutler, MD, family medicine physician at Providence Saint Johns Health Center in Santa Monica, CA, told POPSUGAR. Its the only way to curb the spread.
Keep in mind: the 14-day quarantine is in place because the average time for someone to develop symptoms typically falls within 14 days after exposure, Dr. Richardson explained. If you dont develop symptoms, you are likely in the clear. Just remember to continue taking precautions to reduce your risk of being exposed again.
Dont Miss: How To Alleviate Bladder Infection Pain
Can I Take The Test At Home
At-home HIV tests are a convenient way to take an HIV test in a private location. Testing for HIV at home is a form of HIV screening that requires additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home HIV tests can be obtained online, at a pharmacy, or at health departments and community-based organizations.
Recommended Reading: Otc Urinary Tract Infection Medication
How To Tell If Symptoms Are Hiv
There are three types of HIV tests:
- An NAT involves drawing blood from a vein. It can tell if you have HIV or how much virus is present in your blood. While an NAT can detect HIV sooner than other types of tests, this test is very expensive and not routinely used for screening individuals unless they recently had a high-risk exposure, or a possible exposure and have early symptoms of HIV infection. This test takes several days for results to come back.
- An antigen/antibody testis recommended for testing done in labs and is now common in the United States. It involves drawing blood from a vein, and results take several days to come back. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger prick and takes 30 minutes or less to get results.
- HIV antibody testsonly look for antibodies to HIV in your blood or oral fluid. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger prick or with oral fluid. Antibody tests can detect an HIV infection 23 to 90 days after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only currently approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. They take 20 minutes or less to provide results.
Keep in mind, any positive result would necessitate a second test to confirm it. The only test that would not require a second confirmatory test is the NAT.
Hiv Stigma And Discrimination
HIV can prompt intense feelings in people, regardless of their HIV status. It is sometimes viewed with a sense of unacceptability or disgrace. A person with HIV may feel shame and despair about their status. An HIV-negative person may be fearful or angry when they discover someone has HIV. The relationship of these feelings to HIV is referred to as stigma.Felt stigma refers to deep feelings of shame and self-loathing, and the expectation of discrimination. It can have serious negative impacts on the health and wellbeing of people living with HIV by discouraging them from getting tested, receiving support, or taking treatment. It may also lead people to engage in high-risk behaviours that harm their health, and contribute to new HIV infections.Enacted stigma is the experience of unfair treatment by others. For people living with HIV this can be in the form of being treated differently and poorly, or through rejection, abuse, or discrimination.HIV stigma is particularly harmful when it overlaps with other factors that are stigmatised such as if a person uses drugs, is a sex worker, is trans or gender diverse.Breaking down stigma is a community response where:
If you have experienced stigma or discrimination from a health care provider, and are unable to resolve your complaint with them directly, contact the Health Complaints Commissioner
Read Also: What Is Prescribed For Ear Infection