One need only glance at the numbers associated with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) to realize the necessity of HIV testing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate that 1.2 million Americans currently host HIV and 50,000 Americans become infected per year. Of these, one-fifth don’t even realize what they’re carrying! It quickly becomes obvious that HIV testing is imperative to correctly judge and react to this expanding problem. Informed citizens can proactively address HIV if it affects their lives, and-equally important-they can take preventative measures to protect the rest of the populace. anonymous hiv testing

That brings us to the enterprise of testing itself. At present, the CDC recommends routine testing for everyone aged 13 to 64. Eventually, they’d like to see HIV testing become part-and-parcel of any screening or health care encounter. Until then, it’s up to you to voluntarily contribute to their growing knowledge base and your own peace of mind. For that, you need facts; specifically, you need facts about it, a groundbreaking alternative to traditional testing methodology. In what ways, you ask? Let’s find out:

How does it work?

Most procedures, including rapid HIV testing, rely on antibody detection to determine results. A sample (blood, plasma, oral fluid, and sometimes urine) is collected and exposed to a prepared solution. If there are any HIV-specific antibodies in the sample, the test will display a positive result. Both traditional and rapid HIV tests consistently perform with 99% accuracy, and a positive result from either requires additional verification, usually an alternate test such as the Western Blot test.

Rapid? As opposed to what?

Traditional HIV testing involves the Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA), a lengthy technique requiring a vein-derived blood sample and specialized laboratory equipment. These tests require two visits: one to administer pretest counseling and draw blood, and the second to deliver results and provide further counseling or referrals. The period between the two visits can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on various delays in shipping, laboratory protocol, or retesting.

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