December 1 - World AIDS Day, which was preceded by a Week of HIV Testing in many countries. According to statistics, in Europe, every third HIV-infected person does not know about his HIV-positive status. When to test for HIV and how to do it in Ukraine - read in our material.
- In our country, HIV tests are taken out at a regular clinic at the presentation of a passport. Analysis is free. This takes blood from the vein and checks the presence of antibodies to the human immunodeficiency virus by immunoassay (ELISA). The analysis is intended before any surgical interventions, as well as for all pregnant women and blood donors. According to the results of the analysis (after 5-10 days) a certificate about the HIV status is issued.
- Testing for HIV needs to be done when there was a risk of transmission of the virus, after unprotected sex for example. In addition, HIV testing makes sense in long-term relationships, before giving up condom use, before planning pregnancy. Compulsory HIV testing is carried out by donors of blood, some categories of medical staff and researchers, foreign citizens who enter Ukraine for a period of more than 3 months.
- In each region of Ukraine there are regional AIDS centers, they are also in large cities. By going there, you can go free and anonymous or confidential testing for HIV, plus plus to get free consultations before and after the test. Experts understand the situation of everyone who has contacted the patient and advises on the prevention and, if necessary, treatment of HIV infection.
- There are rapid HIV tests that are used at home. The material for research is blood or saliva. Specimens determine the presence of antigens of the virus or antibodies to them. The time required to study is 20-30 minutes. With HIV-positive test results, manufacturers are advised not to postpone a visit to the Regional AIDS Center for benchmarking and counseling. In this case, false positive results of the test occur in about 5% of cases.
- However, the negative result of the rapid test does not guarantee the absence of infection. Erroneously negative results also give the usual tests for antibodies to HIV. The fact is that antibodies appear in the blood not immediately, but only after 3-6 weeks after infection. In this period, which is called incubation, a person is contagious, but the tests do not yet detect antibodies to the virus.
- An earlier method of HIV diagnosis is the polymerase chain reaction - PCR, which detects antigens of the virus in the blood. It can show the presence of the virus 10 days after infection. However, its accuracy is less than when detecting antibodies, and the diagnosis of HIV infection is not based on its results. HIV testing using the PCR method can be done in a paid laboratory.
- For the diagnosis of HIV infection, it is necessary to confirm two antibody analyzes (ELISAs) by immunoblotting. This is a more accurate analysis than ELISA, which allows you to detect antibodies to different proteins of the shell of the virus.
- In addition to the outpatient clinic and the municipal AIDS center, it is possible to donate blood for HIV testing in the skin and venereal clinic, as well as in any commercial laboratory. In the latter case, the analysis will be paid. Testing for HIV can be done anonymously or with a passport certificate if you need a certificate about HIV status. In paid laboratories, testing for HIV takes 1-2 days.