HIV testing and treatment has come a long way over the past few decades, with sufferers now having a lifespan that closely equals those who don’t have the disease. Throughout this time, there have been several generations of testing devices released onto the market.
The newest of these is fourth-generation HIV tests, which have a few unique differences when compared to previous models. The most notable of these is that these test for both p24 antigens and HIV antibodies; previous devices and kits only tested for the antibodies. This means that the results with the fourth-generation tests can often be much more accurate while also being much faster in providing a diagnosis. The process of being examined is just as simple, if not simpler, than many of the previous editions, and often only needs a blood sample from a finger prick.
HIV In The United States
According to recent studies, as many as 1.2 million people in the United States have HIV, while 14% of these people aren’t aware that they have the disease. This is a percentage that many people would prefer to be much lower, if not entirely reduced.
Regular and more accurate testing can be the best way to do so, as it allows people with the condition to receive treatment as early as possible. By doing so, HIV patients will be able to avoid many of the symptoms that come with the disease and manage the overall condition.
Studies have consistently shown that the earlier a person receives a diagnosis and begins treatment, the better their long-term outcomes are. Much of this is driven by the fact that effective treatment will protect a person’s immune system, slow the virus from progressing and prevent it from being transmitted to another person.
How Does It Work?
When someone contracts HIV, several things happen within the body. The first of these is that the virus will start spreading and creating certain changes, with the most notable being the development of what are known as p24 antigens.
These antigens are a part of the HIV and typically begin showing up two weeks after someone has contracted the disease, although this can vary from case to case. In response to this, your body will start to produce what are called HIV antibodies, which is its way of trying to fight the disease.
Many previous HIV testing look for these antibodies, which should begin showing up in your bloodstream about a month after the condition was contracted. However, many of these exams may only be able to diagnose the illness several weeks after the virus begins developing within the body.
A 4th generation hiv test will check for both of these and should be effective at diagnosing the illness one month after someone contracts it. This means that it can be much more accurate at diagnosing the disease earlier than many other tests, which is especially true with STDCheck.com.
What To Expect
Many people may not know what to expect when undergoing their first HIV test, especially when it comes to a fourth-generation test. This can be much simpler than you might think and typically doesn’t require much time or effort. While many tests will be simple, the STDCheck.com process has been noted as being quite simple. There are a few steps to the company’s process.
The test will need a small sample of your blood, with this typically being taken from a finger, although where you take the sample from can vary depending on who is taking it. How long it will take to receive the results can vary significantly, depending on several factors. This can include how long it takes for the sample to reach the lab. You should typically expect this to take a few weeks, although it’s not uncommon to receive results in a few days. With STDCheck, you should typically expect these results in one to two working days.
If you receive an HIV-positive result, then you may want to organize a follow-up test to confirm these findings. STDCheck.com will typically offer a phone consultation between you and a doctor, during which time you’ll be able to go through what treatments are available to you.
Following this, the medical professional will advise you on the best course of treatment for you. Should you receive an HIV-positive result, then you should inform any current or previous sexual partners so that they can be tested.
Differences From Previous HIV Tests
HIV tests have gotten progressively better over the past few years, which can also be said of treatment options. This could lead many people to wonder what the differences are between third- and fourth-generation HIV tests.
The most significant difference is that fourth-generation test for both HIV antibodies and p24 antigens, both of which will begin showing up in your body within weeks of contracting the disease. Third-generation tests, on the other hand, only test for the antibodies.
This means that the newer models can diagnose the condition much faster than their predecessors. Much of this is driven by the fact that p24 antigens will start showing up in a person’s system earlier than the antibodies, which will then be detected by the test.
Speed isn’t the only thing you should look at when choosing a test, however. While there are a variety of self-testing kits and rapid tests that may be much faster than fourth-generation HIV tests, these can often be less accurate.
Reliability is key to every HIV test, which means that people looking to undergo it will naturally wonder how reliable the fourth-generation test can be. After one month of contracting the disease, the test can accurately diagnose whether or not someone has HIV.
For a brief period after contracting the illness, no test will be able to diagnose whether or not somebody has it accurately. This is what’s known as the window period. During this time, the body will start undergoing a process called seroconversion.
This period ends when the body starts producing detectable amounts of the antibodies and antigens. While this period has been getting smaller in recent decades with improvements in diagnostics, there’s still a certain timeframe where it may not be diagnosed.
Should a person with HIV take a test during this timeframe, then they should get a false-negative. For fourth-generation tests, studies have shown that they will only be effective at detecting the disease 18 days after it was contracted.
Should someone take the test before this point, then they’ll be likely to receive a false-negative. This period has meant that many medical professionals and experts have suggested waiting between one and three months after possible exposure before being tested.
STDCheck has noted that they’re test results are 99% effective for HIV and STDs, depending on the incubation period of the virus.
Fourth-generation test have been available for several years, which has meant that they can be gotten from a variety of places. This includes the majority of healthcare providers and sexual health centers.
If you don’t have health insurance, then there may be some clinics that offer free testing. This can depend on the clinic itself, which means that you’ll need to ask in advance of receiving it.
STDCheck offers 4th generation hiv test that you will be able to take advantage of. This is available from quite an affordable price, and is much faster than many people may believe, as it typically takes between one and two days to receive results.
You’ll be able to order a test from STDCheck.com quite easily, and they have labs available for testing samples across the country. This has helped the company deliver accurate results quickly to people across the United States.
Early Symptoms To Look Out For
The symptoms of HIV can vary wildly, especially in the early stages of its progression. This has led to many people believing that they may be suffering from a different condition, with some believing that it’s a minor illness.
Other people may not suffer from too many of these early symptoms, if at all. This has naturally led to many people avoiding, or not thinking of, an HIV test. While there is a wide range of early symptoms that people with HIV may suffer from, there are a few common ones. These include:
- Night sweats;
- Swollen glands;
- Mouth sores;
- Sore throat, and;
- Muscle ache.
While many of these may be caused by different disease, if they begin appearing together, then it’s recommended that you get an HIV test. Putting it off and hoping they go away isn’t going to get rid of the virus or prevent it from developing further.
While preventing the contraction of the disease is highly recommended, so too is regularly testing. This is because it will allow you to manage each of the symptoms that you can expect with the later stages of the disease. This isn’t possible without being tested.
When To Get Tested
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted that there are a variety of people who should be tested for HIV. Broadly speaking, the organization has said that everybody between the ages of 13 and 64 should do so. However, some people should be tested more regularly than others.
This is primarily focused on people who are the most at-risk of contracting the virus. There can be a few factors at play when determining whether you have a higher risk than others, with the most notable of these being if you’re sexually active and have had unprotected sex recently.
This is especially true if you didn’t know your partner’s HIV status when intercourse occurred. The CDC has also noted that you should be tested regularly if you:
- Regularly take drugs through a needle or IV;
- Trade sex for money or drugs, or;
- Regularly have sex without a condom.
Each of these can increase your risk of contracting HIV significantly, which means that you may need to be tested more regularly than others. The CDC has suggested that people who fall into these categories should be checked at least once every three to six months.
People outside of these categories should be tested yearly alongside their regular STD and STI checks, although this can depend on the number of sexual partners, among other factors. It’s also recommended that you get tested if you have any concerns that you may have contracted the disease.
Should you be worried about STDs or STIs, then you can get tested for these alongside HIV through one of STDCheck’s packages; alternatively, you can be tested for these diseases without the virus, depending on your needs.
As with many other life-changing diseases, it’s best to catch HIV as early as possible. This is because the condition will get worse over time if left untreated and will have a variety of noticeable, and eventually life-threatening, symptoms.
By undergoing a test that’s quick and accurate, you’ll be able to ensure that you find out if you have the disease early. This will play quite a significant role in preventing the condition from developing any further.
While the symptoms may be impossible to completely avoid, you’ll be able to minimize these as much as possible. Doing so ensures that you have a positive outlook moving forward. 4th-generation HIV tests are the quickest and easiest way to do so.
Alongside this, they’re often the most accurate tests that you can take. This should drastically reduce the number of false negatives that many previous models may have been known for. While receiving a positive diagnosis can be life-changing, this doesn’t mean that a false-negative can be much better.