Testing yourself for HIV regularly is an important step towards helping you stay on top of your health status and provides you with information to be as honest as possible with potential barebacking partners. It’s important to remember that testing yourself regularly does not guarantee that you will remain HIV negative, but regular testing plays an important role for barebackers to help reduce the spread of HIV within our community. You can choose to test yourself at a sexual health clinic or doctor and you can also test yourself for HIV in the comfort of your own home using a home test kit. If you want to learn more about Human Immunodeficiency Virus and HIV tests, Wikipedia is a useful online resource you might like to check out.

There are a number of factors which can impede on the accuracy of an HIV test and this can cause problems for those who do their best to be honest about their HIV status. From the time when a person is first infected with HIV, it can take between two to eight weeks and sometimes up to three months for people to develop detectable antibodies. For this reason, a person who tests themselves shortly after being infected with HIV can receive a negative test result, referred to as a false negative result, but they may have HIV. This could result in the tested person being confident about their HIV negative status, so they may then tell potential sexual partners that they are HIV negative. This is why regular HIV testing is important, because if a new infection is missed, it can be picked up more quickly during a future HIV test.

The most accurate HIV test takes place when you attend a clinic and get tested using the advanced PCR DNA test, rather than the ELISA and Western Blot testing methods. However, the PCR DNA tests are more expensive and as a result, the ELISA and Western Blot tests are the more widely used tests to identify HIV. While some guys prefer to avoid getting tested for various reasons, possibly because they don’t want to confront the possibility of being infected with HIV or perhaps they are worried that they may be judged by attending a clinic and being questioned about their sexual behavior, HIV home test kits may be a better option than not getting tested at all.

Regular HIV testing is important for those who want to be aware of their HIV status, but for some people the thought about visiting a sexual health clinic or doctor every few months to get tested for HIV can be overwhelming. This is a perfectly natural reaction, but this feeling doesn’t help to build up the courage to visit a sexual health clinic or doctor to get tested. Even though most health care professionals are friendly and respectful, many people worry about attending clinics because of sexuality and comfort issues. Having the ability to test yourself in the comfort of your own home is a great way to check your HIV status without having to visit a clinic or feel uncomfortable around others during a time which can be stressful.

If you do test yourself at home, it’s a good idea to have the telephone number for a HIV counseling service or support group on hand, just in case you need someone to talk to after you have taken your test. You may not feel that you need to take this step, but it’s a good idea for you to have this information available in case you find it necessary after you’ve taken the test. Some kits may provide you with telephone support, while others may not. You may even consider thinking about options prior to taking the test in the event that a positive result is returned to help make the situation more manageable for you, rather than being in shock and feeling like you have no resources available to you.

Rapid home test kits can be an ideal way to ascertain initial information, but if there is any doubt with the results or if you require confirmation of the results, attending a clinic or visiting your doctor is recommended. The kits should only be used for initial testing and follow-up testing should be carried out to ensure that the results are accurate. Remember that it may take up to twelve weeks for the detectable antibodies to show up in test results, which is known as the “window period”. The FDA website has published an article called Vital Facts About HIV Home Test Kits, which is an essential read if you are considering purchasing a home test kit.

You need to make a number of important considerations about these kits and understand that limitations do exist. The tests provide a qualitative test, meaning the tests cannot be used to determine the quantitative concentration of HIV. You need to follow the instructions carefully and ensure that you read the test result within the time stated to interpret the result and you must not read the result after the stated time. Each test kit is designed for single use only – do not try to use the same test kit more than once. A negative test does not rule out an HIV infection because the antibodies to HIV may be absent at the time the test was taken or may not be present in sufficient quantity to be detected at the early stages of infection. This is known as the window period where HIV is in the system and can be transmitted to other people, but the antibodies may not be detectable using HIV tests at this time, so regular testing is important.

Getting yourself tested on a regular basis may not prevent the spread of HIV, but it may help to reduce it because more people will be aware of their HIV status. Now that you are equipped with this information, you need to decide whether home HIV test kits are something which you feel will benefit you, or whether regular clinic visits will increase your level of confidence. There are a number of companies on the internet who supply home HIV test kits, but you need to be aware that some companies may not be reputable or may make false claims about the effectiveness of the kits they supply.

The importance of regular testing for HIV negative barebackers is clear. Because of the HIV window period, there is the chance that a test may give a false negative result if there aren’t detectable antibodies at the time the test was taken. It is possible to transmit HIV when antibodies are not detected in the system, which is a serious issue when it comes to HIV testing. The reason why regular HIV testing is important for high-risk sexual activity such as barebacking is because there is less time involved between tests, which can limit the potential exposure to sexual partners. Without regular testing, the virus can spread more quickly, so whether getting tested at a clinic, doctor or at home, any test is better than no test, but please always take care to ensure that the testing method you choose is reliable. The webmaster is not a health professional, so you need to consult a professional before acting upon any of the information contained in this article.

Early Symptoms of HIV Infection

You can find important information about early symptoms of sexually transmitted infections at a number of online health resources and I have included some of the symptoms below to assist you knowing what some of the symptoms are.

  • About 60% of people will not have any symptoms when they first become infected with HIV.
  • About 40% of people will experience symptoms between one week and two months after exposure to HIV.
  • The following symptoms may be present to identify HIV, but usually disappear within a week to a month and are often mistaken for symptoms of another viral infection: fever, headache, tiredness, sore throat, enlarged lymph nodes and a rash.
  • During this period people are infectious and HIV is present in large quantities in genital fluids.
  • More persistent or severe symptoms may not appear for ten more more years in adults after HIV first enters the body, but this period varies greatly in each individual.
  • Even during the asymptomatic period the virus is actively multiplying, infecting and killing cells of the immune system. The virus can also hide within infected cells and lay dormant.
  • As the immune system worsens, a variety of complications start to take over the body. For many people the first signs of infection are large lymph nodes that may be enlarged for more than three months and other symptoms often experienced months to years before the onset of AIDS include a lack of energy, weight loss, frequent fevers and sweats, persistent or frequent oral yeast infections, persistent skin rashes or flaky skin and short term memory loss.
  • Some people develop frequent and severe herpes infections that cause mouth, genital or anal sores or a painful nerve disease called shingles.

References:

  1. Diagnosis of HIV/AIDS
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HIV_test
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