Before performing HIV test, a period of 3 months must have elapsed since the possible risk of HIV transmission. This period, called the window period, is what is needed for the antibodies detected by the test to develop.
The test is very reliable, but if this period is not expected, it is not able to detect the antibodies because they would not have been produced yet. In that case, the result could be a false negative, meaning that the person could have been infected and could, therefore, transmit the virus to other people. In this case, the test would have to be repeated 3 months after the risk exposure to confirm the negative result. At that time, the chlamydia test also comes up useful.
Measures to prevent the transmission of HIV infection should always be taken, but in this circumstance, where the person could be infected, it is vital to do so until the negative result is confirmed.
What should I do in case of a positive result?
A positive result indicates a high probability of being infected if there has been a risky practice, but this result is not yet definitive. You must go to a health center (your Health Center, for example) so that they can carry out the confirmation tests and receive, where appropriate, medical advice on your new state of health. Also, you can contact some NGOs, which have Community Centers where you can receive support to face the new situation. Confirmatory tests are not done in these centers.
Self-diagnosis Test of HIV
The tests for the self-diagnosis of HIV can be bought now in pharmacies without a prescription as the Council of Ministers amended the legislation so that these tests could be dispensed without previously going through a consultation. The one that is being marketed is from the pharmaceutical company; it is being sold for around 29 dollars and allows knowing the result in 15 minutes.
With the sale in pharmacies of the test for self-diagnosis of HIV, Health seeks to increase early diagnosis in Canada to reduce, precisely, the number of people who have the virus but do not know it and late diagnoses thinking of those who do not dare to go to your medical center or to the NGOs that do the test and that prefer the privacy of your home to carry out the analysis. However, a positive should always be confirmed later with a conventional diagnosis.
An early diagnosis allows the person infected with HIV to access treatment as soon as possible and reduces the risk of transmission to other people, as highlighted by the Ministry of Health and the General Council of Official Colleges of Pharmacists in an action guide aimed at pharmacists for the dispensing of self-diagnostic tests.
Who should get tested for HIV?
HIV testing is recommended if you have had penetrative sex (anal, vaginal, or oral) without a condom with a person who is infected with the virus or who is unknown or not; if puncture material has been shared; if you have suffered from a sexually transmitted infection, tuberculosis or hepatitis; if you have a stable partner and you want to stop using a condom with her.