By bringing testing services closer to people, TASO increases accessibility and awareness
About the HIV testing services
TASO, committed to comprehensive health services, offers crucial HIV testing as a central component of its mission. The organization recognizes the importance of early detection in controlling the spread of HIV and providing timely care to those affected. Here’s how TASO provides HIV testing as a valuable service
importance of HIV testing in prevention of HIV Infection
When on antiretroviral therapy, or ART, people with HIV who are aware of their status can stay healthy for a long time. According to studies, people benefit better from starting HIV treatment as soon as they are diagnosed. HIV treatment lessens HIV-related sickness, stops HIV transmission to others, and lowers the amount of HIV in the blood (also known as the viral load). HIV-positive individuals who adhere to their treatment regimen and achieve and maintain an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) will not share HIV with their sexual partners.
After testing negative for HIV, a person can make decisions regarding their health care, substance use, and sexual behavior that can help avoid HIV. Pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP, is an HIV medication that is very successful in preventing
HIV Tests for Screening and Diagnosis
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can detect HIV depends on the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV tests: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests (NAT).
- Antibody tests look for antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood or oral fluid. Antibody testscan take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV after exposure. Most rapid tests and the only FDA-approved HIV self-test are antibody tests. In general, antibody tests that use blood from a vein can detect HIV sooner after infection than tests done with blood from a finger stick or with oral fluid.
- Antigen/antibody tests look for both HIV antibodies and antigens. Antibodies are produced by a person’s immune system when they’re exposed to viruses like HIV. Antigens are foreign substances that cause a person’s immune system to activate. If a person has HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced before antibodies develop. Antigen/antibody tests are recommended for testing done in labs and are common in the United States. An antigen/antibody test performed by a lab on blood from a vein can usually detect HIV 18 to 45 days after exposure. There is also a rapid antigen/antibody test available that is done with a finger stick. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger stick can take 18 to 90 days after exposure.
- NATs look for the actual virus in the blood. This test should be considered for people who have had a recent exposure or a possible exposure with early symptoms of HIV and have tested negative with an antibody or antigen/antibody test. A NAT can usually detect HIV 10 to 33 days after exposure.
An initial HIV test usually will either be an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV test is a rapid or self-test and it is positive, the person should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a lab test and it is positive, the lab will usually conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are generally accurate, follow-up tests allow the health care provider to confirm the result.