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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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JamieLEE
Unregistered

For people who are worried about testing !!
      #31293 - 04/05/02 09:57 AM

hinking about an HIV Test?
Provided by Stephen Fallon, Ph.D.
© 2002 Stephen Fallon

Summary: If you wait just a little while after engaging in a risky behavior, you can then get a reliable HIV test. Wait three weeks, and a negative HIV test result is very reliable; wait three months, and it's virtually 100% accurate. Some local health departments require a person's name for testing, which is kept in confidential files. Others provide anonymous testing services; no one knows your name; you get an identification number to bring back for your results.

How do the tests work? Each year, 25 million Americans are tested for HIV antibodies1. Only certain sites are authorized to perform anonymous tests. The most common way to test involves drawing a small sample of blood. Some providers can also do a test with just a swab that collects saliva and mucosa from your mouth. Soon a new test will screen urine for HIV antibodies2. It's important to remember that saliva and urine do not transmit HIV. These tests are measuring your body's counterattack on HIV (antibodies), not actually finding HIV particles.

All tested fluids are first checked using an inexpensive test, such as the ELISA or Synthetic Peptide test. If the test produces a positive reading, this result is double-checked with a much more specific test, such as the Western Blot.

Are those tests really accurate? You may have heard about problems with early versions of HIV tests, which gave many people inaccurate test results. But tests have been improved. In 1990, 1.5 out of every 100 tests gave a "false positive" result, meaning that the test thought you had HIV when in fact you did not3! But by 1997 the false positive rate had dropped to less than 5 out of every 100,000 tests for the ELISA, and the Western Blot would rule out even those few false results4.

What is the "window period of uncertainty"? Standard HIV tests screen for your antibodies to HIV. Most people begin producing antibodies within a few weeks, although a few may take several months. So if you rush to a clinic for a test too soon after a risky behavior, you could receive a "false negative" result, suggesting that you're not infected when you actually are.

Fortunately, the "window period" has been cut as tests have improved. In 1990, the ELISA test provided reliable results only if the person's risk behavior had occurred six weeks ago (95% accuracy at 45 days). Today, improved tests give highly accurate results just three weeks after any risk behavior (95% confidence at 25 days5, or even 22 days6 ). Still, a follow-up test is required to approach 100% accuracy. Nearly all patients seroconvert (i.e. possess detectable antibodies) by three months after their reported risk behavior7.



This is very current and will make you feel better!!!






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Anonymous
Unregistered

NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #31313 - 04/05/02 03:49 PM

I'm worried with statement of nearly all - but not all. Meaning that test at 3 months is till not as accurate as we tend to believe.



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JamieLEE
Unregistered

Re: NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #31316 - 04/05/02 04:13 PM

OK, nearly all. That means 99.9% meaning some people .1% convert after that. I'm not going to worry about that. The CDC has changed the conclusive test to three months becasue so few test positive after that. That is also the standard in many other countries.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #31317 - 04/05/02 04:25 PM

I'm in Med school and here we are taught that as far medical world goes there are never any guarantees. Try to remember that the AIDS epidemic is considered a relatively new disease. Numerous studies have been done regarding the window period, transmission and proper medication. Like in any disease, 99.9% is as good as your ever going to get. In other words, when dealing with a life threatening disease there are no 100% guarantees. If you are not comfortable with this knowledge make a difference instead of saying "I'm worried with statement of nearly all - but not all. Meaning that test at 3 months is till not as accurate as we tend to believe. Go to med school, make a contribution. Do something that will help the millions of infected people worldwide have a chance of living a healthy and happy life instead of complaining about it.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #31318 - 04/05/02 04:37 PM

Can you please post the link where CDC state that 3 months is conclusive and no further tests needed - I am having trouble of finding it.



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Jackie_Blue
Veteran

Reged: 10/26/00
Posts: 2028
Re: NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #31331 - 04/05/02 07:32 PM

Great Post!!!!!!!!!!



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: NEARLY ALL - BUT NOT ALL new
      #32097 - 04/16/02 12:26 AM

Go to www.CDC.gov and look around for their HIV/AIDS section. You should find the information under a heading like "Revised Counsiling, Testing and Referral Guidelines". Now, you may have to do a little reading of the article to find what you are looking for.



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