HIV screening, HIV test
A timely diagnosis is crucial in treating AIDS effectively. It can be diagnosed by detecting the HIV virus in the blood, or rather the antibodies produced by the body against the virus. The laboratory procedures which used to detect these antibodies are called tests. Tests have two types: the ones that can be used for screening (therefore called “screening tests”) and the ones that are diagnostically conclusive, called “confirmatory tests”. Screening tests (like most screening measures) are primarily capable of quickly, precisely and inexpensively filtering out those in large quantities who require a more extensive examination. In other words, screening tests (including anonymous screening) are not qualified for getting a diagnosis but for confirming or ruling out the possibility of a HIV infection. A HIV infection can only be diagnosed by multiple, unanimously positive test results.
When is it necessary?
before long-term relationships, marriages and having children (for both parties) frequent change of sexual partners
four weeks after sexual intercourse without protection, condom breakage or slippage four weeks after needle or syringe sharing
When should I go?
After four weeks have passed.
At least four weeks must pass before laboratory tests are able to detect the infection. This means that you have to wait for at least four weeks (this is the so-called “window period”) after the possible infection before undergoing testing.
What is the “window” period?
“Window” period means the timeframe during which the HIV virus is impossible to detect with any laboratory or other tests. It covers the first 2-4 weeks after getting infected. During this period the carrier can already transmit the infection.
The test is different from other lab tests but it does not have any preconditions. You are allowed to eat and drink beforehand.
What should I bring with me?
On request, our physicians provide medical examination to any AATSZ patients regardless of gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, other illnesses, use of drugs or other recreational substances. We provide counseling for those who have questions, and if it is requested, we perform anonymous and free HIV testing. No identification is required. It applies to foreign nationals, too.
We have two-factor anonymous data protection: a code word and a personal barcode. This guarantees anonymity and the prevention of potential mix-ups. Full anonymity is assured for everyone who gets tested.
What happens during the anonymous screening?
The first meeting
The first meeting is about risk assessment: the screening physician and the anonymous patient discuss the likelihood of HIV positivity. If it is deemed necessary, and the patient requests it, a blood sample is taken to run the screening test in a cooperating laboratory.
The physician will not ask for names or any personal data as these are not required for this test. Our HIV screening is anonymous and free.
We always take blood samples using disposable equipment. The HIV test is done from venous blood in special laboratories where our colleagues use state-of-the-art test agents. The blood is stored in a disposable vacuum tube labeled with a personal barcode. We receive the results electronically and they are stored on a password-protected data carrier which is personally handed to the test subject.
The result: we have the results 7-8 days after the blood sample is taken, and they can be given to you either personally during office hours or we can send them to the previously email address provided. We can give you the results of the quick test in 20 minutes.
Negative test result
If the screening test comes back negative, the test subject can be deemed HIV-negative. In this case, if it is necessary and the subject requests it, the physician can inform him/her about how to stay HIV-negative in the future.
Positive test result
If we get positive result from the first screening, it should be interpreted as strong suspicion of HIV positivity. In that case further testing is needed to verify or reject the result. This process is the so-called verification.
This verification is needed because screening tests sometimes give false positive results. False positive results can originate from having a concurrent infection caused by viruses that belong to the same family like HIV (retroviruses) or from another concurrent disease or maybe from a recent vaccination. Because of that the suspected HIV infection needs to be further investigated. A cooperating specialized laboratory provides the diagnosis of HIV positivity for patients referred by AAA. Real HIV positivity can be confirmed only with screenings comprising several steps in order to eliminate false-positive results. Rapid tests are also available at our clinic.