HIV test is an important and most logical way to know whether a person is infected by Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). The virus is an important cause of AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) and can cause serious impact on overall health state of a person.
According to recent statistical figures released by World Health Organization (WHO), more than 34 million people were suffering from AIDS worldwide in 2010. This includes 30.1 million adults and 3.4 million children. Women are more prone to HIV AIDS and more than 16.8 million adult patients were females. A total of around 2.7 million new cases were diagnosed in 2010 and included 390,000 children and 2.3 million adults. Numbers of deaths caused due to the disease are also considerably high. More than 1.8 million people died of the disorder in 2010. Numbers of child-deaths were 250,000 while 1.5 million fatalities occurred in adults.
Looking at the above statistics, it is clear that the disorder is one of the severest after cancer. Thus, role of HIV test is highly significant in assuring avoidance or at having an effective control over the disorder if tests are done on regular basis. HIV infection may be primarily detected in three major areas – serum, urine, and saliva. Proper medical guidance is mandatory to detect the disorder correctly. HIV infection is highly fatal and is almost incurable if detected in advanced phases.
Before we understand various forms of HIV tests, let us have a basic understanding about various causes of the disorder
Causes of HIV infection
Unsafe sex is the most basic and leading factor responsible for development of human immunodeficiency virus in body. Such risky sexual activities can be in various forms as oral, anal , and vaginal sex. Usually, people who indulge with multiple sex-partners are at considerably high risk of suffering from the infection. Having sex with a man or women infected by AIDS can lead to HIV infection in a person.
Infection of HIV can also spread through blood. Main ways of spread of infection through blood include using needles used (generally for injecting medicines) by victims of HIV, or through blood transfusion from those already suffering from HIV. Hence, people infected by AIDS are not allowed to donate blood.
Females are highly vulnerable to infection of HIV and the rate is much higher than in males. Chances of transmission of HIV infection from mother to child are very high when, HIV positive women become pregnant and give birth to a child. Thus, the disorder can also spread through genetic factors and account for increase in cases of AIDS among children.
Infection may also spread when the semen or blood of infected person comes in touch with broken skin or an uninfected person. HIV-infected women can also spread the disorder to other babies if allowed to breast-feed them.
When should one opt for HIV tests?
Frequent serious infections in vaginal areas such as vaginal yeast infections, diarrhea, fever, consistent body pains, fatigue, and swelling in lymph nodes are some prominent early signs of the disorder. Soreness in throat and headache are some indirect signals of the infection and should be cross-checked thoroughly for causes.
Generally, a person may show visible early signs of HIV infection after as much as ten years from first-time generation of the virus. Thus, regular medical tests are extremely important in early identification of the virus. Age and medical background is also an important factor to be thought upon while interpreting symptoms.
Basic HIV Tests
HIV western blot and HIV ELISA (enzyme-linked immunoassay) are the tests useful to know status of antibodies responsible to fight human immunodeficiency virus in blood. If result of such tests is positive, HIV infection tend to exist. Various other HIV anti-body tests are also useful to trace the virus and know its intensity. Overall chances of a victim to lead a normal life and recover from the disorder depend upon the timing of diagnosis tests followed by quality and accuracy of treatment.
There are several rapid anti-body tests available to know about chances of HIV infection. Such test give results within a few minutes as contrary to detailed tests like western blot and ELISA that need blood samples to be thoroughly testes by laboratory methods. Rapid tests give a rough idea about status of victim and have to be followed by the detailed ones. Antigen test, also called as P24 test, is one such test. These tests can also be carried with standard anti-body tests to get more accurate and fast results. PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is another vital technique useful to identify genetic factors behind HIV infection. Home Access Express HIV-1 test is a FDA-approved test and can be conducted safely with proper medical advice. Other major tests include Oraquick, Uni-gold, iDiagnostics Rapid HIV exams, Clearview Complete HIV ½, and Clearview HIV ½ Stat-Pak test.
HIV tests need to be taken on regular basis even though the virus is not detected during first time diagnosis. One should be very careful with his sexual life and take proper precautionary measures. Frequent medical counseling can be helpful to know about contemporary causes and symptoms related to the disorder.