Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a sexually transmitted disease that comes from the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Because an HIV infection can be easily transmitted during sex, it is important for sexually active people to be tested for this disease. Testing reduces the risk of the disease spreading across the population and also allows for infected people to begin treatment. For more information on AIDS, consult your doctor or go to your local health clinic. There are several different testing methods.
Blood EIA Test – The enzyme immunoassay (EIA) test uses blood drawn from a vein. If results indicate a positive infection, a follow up test is used.
Oral Fluid Test – Uses oral fluid (not saliva). Is an EIA antibody test similar to the blood test and requires a follow up test for positive results.
Urine Test – An EIA antibody test that uses urine instead of blood, but is less accurate than other tests. A positive results requires a follow up test.
Rapid Test – Uses blood or oral fluid, this test is taken at a clinic, with results within 20 minutes.
Home Screening Test – For those concerned about privacy or wishing to remain anonymous, a home screening test may be best. Only the Home Access HIV-1 test system is approved by the FDA for home HIV testing. A blood test is administered at home and the results are mailed in. Customers are given a special number to use to remain confidential when calling in to get information on the results. All positive results will be given follow-up tests and resources for support and treatment.
RNA Test – Looks for genetic material of the virus. This type of test is used to test the blood supply and also for rare early infection cases where antibody tests are unable to detect early HIV antibodies.
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With the number of AIDS and HIV cases around the world growing daily, it is crucial to take every precaution to protect yourself and others. AIDS, or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, was first identified in 1984 and is caused by the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or HIV. Statistics show that it's been the largest cause of infectious death in Africa since 2002, but it is present on every continent around the world. This virus causes the body's immune system to attack itself, often resulting in rapid onset of symptoms.
There are many HIV/AIDS clinics that specialize in anonymous, private and confidential patient care. Many of their services are free or offered at a low cost, including AIDS and HIV tests, information about symptoms and prevention techniques, and treatment. Clinic employees are trained in the safe administration of the tests, which check for HIV antibodies. A negative test result indicates the absence of HIV antibodies. A positive result indicates the presence of HIV antibodies, which means that the person tested has been infected with HIV.
As there is no vaccine or cure for HIV and AIDS, taking precautionary measures is vital in preventing HIV from transmitting, and a clinic can provide information about stopping the spread of this and other sexually transmitted diseases. Pregnant women with HIV or AIDS need to be monitored closely; the virus can be transmitted to the baby, and pregnant women benefit from extra care to keep themselves and their babies healthy and well. Professionals working in HIV and AIDS care provide valuable services to those suffering from the virus. If you want more information about the virus or would like to have yourself or a partner tested, contact a local health care practitioner or AIDS clinic.