Sep 30, 2012
Hopefully my question can be answered. I had an Oral Rapid HIV 1/2 test done a local clinic. This is the first time I have ever had an oral test done. When I walked in, I was expecting the counselor to pull out a finger prick stick...instead she pulls out something that looks like a pregnancy test and hands it to me and tells me to swab my upper gum once back and forth, bottom gum back and forth and then around my outer gums twice. She sticks in the solution 20 minutes later she says that it is negative and hands me a paper saying so. I am a skeptic...so I asked to see the test. I remember one line at the top...none at the bottom. I even stared at is for two minutes to see if it was going to change. I said okay and walked out with results in hand.
When I got home, like most humans...I began to thin "wait a minute how does this test even work. I began to research online and saw that the test was done different ways everywhere. Some people only swab their gums one time top and bottom....some people swabbed their cheeks on so on. I began to worry at this point that my test was done wrong. I read that the test is 99.8 percent accurate outside of the window period but I have read and heard too many different stories on how it should be done and what you should not do before you test. I smoked a cigarette before I did mine and one person said that you should not do that but the manufactor along with others said that cigarettes don't effect it just as long as you do not eat or drink. So then I began to question, what if the swab did not pick up any fluids at all, would the person administering test know that it didn't. I am just confused as to why with a test that is taken so seriously...why isn't there one way of administering the test and also one set of rules of what you should not do before the test. I am happy that I was negative (THANK GOD) I just want to make sure that the test was done properly and the results are accurate. I don't want to be surprised later on in my life because of someone else's mistake. Thank you all for all your help and God Bless you all for answering the questions of myself and every other worry wort out here.
Response from Ms. Southall
Hi The oral swab test is just as accurate as the blood test. What they are testing for is your body's antibodies against HIV. It is not in the saliva but in the mucus membranes. Every testing site decides what type of test they are going to use and they are all accurate test. It is also a test that is consistently being upgraded and refined. It used to be getting a test took 2-3 weeks to receive the results, now we are down to results in 10-20 minutes.
The guidelines for HIV testing are to be initially tested at 3 weeks then again at 3 months, if both of these tests are negative then so are you, as long as there were no other types of exposure during that 3 month period, if so then the timing starts over again.
Hope this answers your questions and you feel peace of mind that your test was accurate.
Be well and stay safe, Shannon
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