TESTING

Take Courage to Inform Yourself

Be brave. The biggest hurdle is not knowing. Don’t let fear get in the way of your health.

Ignore what other people say and think, your health is more important and you’re better than that! Put your health first and get tested for HIV. Once you’ve done it you’ll be informed and be in control.

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Antibody-Screening Test

The most common HIV test is the antibody-screening test (also called immunoassay), which tests for the presence of the specific antibodies that the body produces in response to its infection with HIV.

This test may use any of three body fluids to detect antibodies to HIV, which are:

1) Blood – The most common screening method.

2) Oral Fluid found in the mouth along the cheeks and gums. Not saliva.

3) Urine – The accuracy of using urine is much lower than blood or oral fluid.

Tests that use blood tend to find HIV infections quicker than oral-fluid-tests because the level of antibodies in blood is higher.

This immunoassay rapid testproduces a result within 30 minutes. This test, using either blood or oral fluid to look for antibodies to HIV, is often used in non-clinic-settings. All immunoassays that are positive need to be confirmed with a follow-up lab-based test. Follow-up diagnostic testing is performed in a lab if the first immunoassay result is positive.

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RNA Test

The HIV RNA test is one of the most recently developed HIV tests. HIV is a type of virus that encodes the genetic information in RNA instead of DNA. Therefore, anyone living with HIV will have the HIV RNA inside some of their cells.

RNA tests detect particles of the genetic make-up of the virus directly rather than the antibodies to HIV. Thus, RNA tests can detect HIV much earlier, at about 10 days after infection or as soon as it appears in the bloodstream and long before the body develops antibodies or antigens. However, these tests cost much more than antibody-based tests.

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Fourth-Generation HIV Test

A fourth-generation HIV test refers to an HIV test with the ability to diagnose HIV earlier than previous generations of HIV tests.

This is because fourth-generation tests look for both HIV antibodies AND antigens (p24) to HIV. Antigens are proteins on the surface of the HIV particle. Antibodies are produced by the immune system in response to the HIV antigens. 4th generation tests are accurate usually 3-4 weeks after exposure, because this is when the p24 antigen becomes high enough to measure. A negative result at 28 days is good enough for most people (and situations). However, if they were was a high risk situation, getting a second test 8 weeks later is usually recommended to confirm the result.

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GET TREATMENT

Live and let live

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People also ask

The Window Period

When the HIV virus first gets into your body, your immune system recognises it as harmful and produces specific disease fighting cells called antibodies. Your body takes between 6 and 12 weeks to produce these antibodies. The HIV antibody test looks for these specific cells and not for the HIV virus itself. If you have an HIV antibody test before your body has produced these fighting cells, the test will be HIV antibody negative, even though HIV is present in your body. During this period when you have HIV in your body but your immune system has not yet produced antibodies is known as the WINDOW PERIOD. It is important to remember that if you are infected with HIV but obtain a negative HIV antibody test result, you are still able to transmit the virus to someone else if you have unprotected sex or share a needle during drug injections. If you get tested after 12 weeks, your test will most likely be HIV antibody positive. This will mean that you have HIV.

Hence, WINDOW PERIOD is the time between potential exposure to HIV infection and the point when the HIV antibody test will give an accurate result.

 

Is treatment for people with HIV available in Malaysia? Is it free?

In Malaysia, the public (citizens only) may undergo HIV Screening test for free at government clinics (Klinik Kesihatan Kerajaan) and government hospitals. Private clinics and labs offer HIV screening as well for a fee. This option may be preferred by some clients who want more privacy and faster service. This would be the better option for foreigners and migrant workers as well.

 

Is there a treatment or cure for HIV infection or AIDS?

Currently, there is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, with the combined use of antiretroviral drugs and the drugs to prevent opportunistic infections, many people with HIV infection and AIDS have improved the quality of their lives and delayed or reversed the progression of HIV infection to AIDS.

See How Others Living with HIV Positively



Tareq Nasri, a young man who was diagnosed as HIV-positive, talks about his life and society’s misconceptions about the condition.


Chinema shares her story of discovering her status only 10 days after her husband passed away.


Norlela’s story begins with being tested after the passing of her late husband. At the time she was a single mother of 4 and misinformation and fear characterised the first few years of her diagnosis.