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HIV Testing

The Human immunodeficiency virus, more commonly known as HIV, is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). The only way to tell if you have this STI is to take a HIV test. It’s thought to have been in the U.S. since the 1970s. HIV attacks your T-cells, which impacts your immune system and makes it harder for your body to fight off infections.

If left untreated, the deterioration of the cells in your body and inability to fight infections can lead to various diseases including acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).

HIV is a lifelong illness. While there is no cure for the virus, getting tested is important to help manage the progression of the disease.

Thanks to modern medicine, with the right medication, those whose HIV test came back positive can live long and healthy lives. Treatment also lowers the risk of transmitting the disease to future sexual partners.

How Can You Get HIV?

HIV is spread when blood, semen, or vaginal fluid from an infected partner enters your body. It was once believed that being around an infected person–even hugging them–was enough to transfer the virus, but this is a myth.

Some sexual activities make you more susceptible to HIV. If you have unprotected sex with an infected person, you can get HIV. The virus can be transferred through small tears in the mouth, vagina, or anus. Having unprotected sex and having multiple partners present the greatest potential risk of infection. You won’t know that you’ve contracted this STI until you take an HIV test.

Pregnant women who have the virus may pass it on to their children. HIV can be spread during the pregnancy itself, delivery or while breastfeeding. With the proper treatment, infected mothers can lower the risk of transmission to their children.

Sharing contaminated needles–through drugs, tattoos, and even acupuncture–can spread HIV. Blood transfusions are a possibility–so medical personnel and first responders have to be careful–but treatment is available if you’re in contact with someone’s blood who is HIV positive.

Signs You Need a HIV Test

It’s the early stages (acute HIV) that most people experience flu-like symptoms a few weeks after they are infected. Below are examples of some of the symptoms men and women may initially experience. If you think you may be infected, take an HIV test right away.

HIV Symptoms in Men
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Night sweats
  • Achy muscles
  • Sores in the mouth or genitals
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, etc.)
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
HIV Symptoms in Women
  • Changes in your period
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Persistent vaginal yeast infections
  • Painful sex
  • Sore throat
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Night sweats
  • Achy muscles
  • Sores in the mouth or genital area
  • Flu-like symptoms (fever, chills, etc.)
  • Fatigue
  • Rash

Where Can I get a HIV Test?

A HIV test is the only way to confirm whether or not you have the virus. You can get an HIV test through your doctor, a hospital, medical clinics, substance abuse programs, and local health centers.

You can order an HIV test and screen at home. Some HIV tests provide an option for rapid results by swabbing the  inside of your mouth. myLAB Box’s HIV test takes it to the next level, screening a small blood sample from a pin prick to detect antibodies of HIV-1 and HIV-2.

You simply send the tiny blood sample off in the mail in a stamped envelope, and you’ll find out your HIV test results in two to five days.

What Happens if I have HIV?

If your HIV test comes back positive, consult with one of the doctors and/or counselors myLAB Box provides to discuss your next steps. You’ll probably start HIV treatment as soon as possible. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) is the most-recommended medicine prescribed to those infected and it can block the virus.

While it can feel scary since you tested positive from an HIV test, know that approximately 1.1 million people lie with HIV in the U.S. Many of them are living healthy and longer lives thanks to proper medical care and medication.

In addition to protecting yourself, you should also protect those around you from contracting the disease. Inform your sexual partners and/or people you shared needles with about your diagnosis. Encourage your partner and family members to get an HIV test at home as well.

Getting treatment for HIV early is extremely important. Take an HIV test every few months and give yourself the gift of peace of mind with lab-certified, discreet STI test results.

Comments

  • Emly Turner July 25, 2018 at 3:25 am

    Your blog is very helpful for those who are suffering from HIV after reading your blog people will know about the sign, symptoms,cautions and know what happened if they have HIV. We are very thankful for your blog.

    • Jill Zuder July 25, 2018 at 5:59 am

      Thank you! We are happy that we are able to educate our customers so that they may make informed decisions regarding their sexual health. Stay safe and sexy!

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