Screening is essential. Indeed, the test for HIV is the only way to know if one has contracted the virus. An early diagnosis is important because in case of positive confirmatory test, it will start treatment quickly thereby decreasing the amount of virus in the blood until it becomes undetectable. It is thus possible to preserve the immune system and reduce the risk of transmission.
Today, thanks to current antiretroviral therapy, a person living with HIV has a life expectancy similar to the general population. For all your questions, do not hesitate to turn to your doctor.
When you have taken a risk, or when you want to know where you are with regard to HIV, the screening test is the only solution. A simple blood test will tell you.
Is the test the only way to know if you are HIV positive?
Yes. After infection with HIV, several years may pass before the onset of the disease. Carrying HIV can therefore remain hidden for a very long time without knowing it if this test has not been done. Finally, knowing that you are HIV positive early on allows you to benefit from appropriate treatment at the best time. Using the canada home testing kit is important in this case.
Where to do a test?
This test can be prescribed by a doctor, carried out in anonymous and free screening centers, Maternal and Child Planning Centers and Family Planning Centers. These anonymous and free screening centers (CDAG) are also authorized to carry out screening for hepatitis B and C.
How much will it cost me?
The cost of screening includes the price of the consultation, the price of the debit and the laboratory test. The laboratory test is 100% reimbursed by Social Security. For the consultation and the sample, reimbursement is made partly by social security and partly by supplementary insurance when there is one. For the tests carried out in the CDAGs, the test is of course anonymous and free.
When should a test be done?
When in doubt, it is always a good idea to talk to a doctor, who will determine if it is the right time to have a blood test. Be aware that after a risk, the contamination may not be detectable until three months later. Testing too early could result in a negative test while the virus is present. In this case, the doctor may invite you to come back later for the test. Small detail, it is absolutely not necessary to be on an empty stomach to perform a test. The blood test can be done at any time of the day.
Are these tests really reliable?
Strict rules apply to these tests. First, two screening tests (ELISA tests) are performed. If they are both negative, it means that you have not been infected if you have not taken a risk in the last three months. If one of the two tests or both are positive, the laboratory will carry out a third test (Western-Blot test) which will confirm or deny the presence of the virus. If the Western-Blot test is negative, it means that we have not been contaminated (provided that we have not taken any risk in the last 3 months). When the test is positive, the doctor will take a second blood test to check the result. If the test does not provide an answer, a second test can be done a few days later.