Symptoms of HIV
The retrovirus of Human Immunodeficiency Virus or popularly known as HIV slowly replicates and, if left unchecked could become severely damage an individual’s immune system thereby progressing to Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. The last stage of an HIV infection is AIDS where the person having it will have a difficult time warding off some cancers and other diseases. Tests for HIV should be done to determine the presence of unique antibodies and they may be in the form of urine, saliva, and blood.
The HIV virus comes in two types, the HIV-1, and HIV-2. HIV-1 is the term commonly used in the United States while Africa has predominantly HIV-2.
These two types of HIV show the same manifestation in which the CD4+T cell levels are lowered and infected. Declining numbers of CD4+T that could reach critical levels could make the opportunistic infections invade the body. The quick mutation of infection in HIV-1 rapidly jumps to AIDS compared to HIV-2 which has made it the number one infectious agent in the world.
An individual becomes infected with HIV through genital fluids and blood which includes breast milk. Having unprotected sex and sharing of needles with an HIV-positive person could also lead to acquiring HIV.
Getting an accurate result from an HIV testing could take a little time. The reason for this is because the blood tests done are not to determine the presence of HIV but more on the antibodies that the body produces to fight off the infection. This is why many people do not know that they are already infected with HIV.
The antibodies that a person produces when infected with HIV may be seen after 2 weeks although there are cases when it was after 6 months that a positive result was determined. In the period that the body is still on the process of producing the antibodies, testing could actually bring in a negative result.
It would be prudent on your part if you and your partner undergo HIV testing before having sexual relations for the first time. In the case of pregnant women, it is imperative that HIV testing should be a routine exam in every pregnancy so measures can be done to avoid infecting the baby with the virus.
The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay of commonly known as ELISA is the usual blood test done to determine the presence of HIV. The Western Blot Test would be the second confirmation right after the ELISA test is done. An ELISA test cannot report it as ‘positive’ when it has not been confirmed by the Western Blot Test. There are newer kinds of HIV testing with some using mouth swabs to get saliva samples that could give quick results within 30-40 minutes. Yet, this type of testing still needs the Western Blot test to confirm the results.
After 6 months and tests still show negative results, it is recommended that an individual get a final check after another 6 months to make sure that he/she is not infected especially when exposed to unsafe sex practices.