We would like to be informed about our health in any case. Regular check-ups, a balanced diet and daily exercise help our bodies stay healthy and function better.
Safeguarding and knowledge are especially important when we fear a possible infection with a virus.
What is a taboo subject for many people, we address openly and comprehensively, as education in all areas of health is of the highest priority and should not be concealed under any circumstances.
Love is one of life’s many advances. It enriches, inspires, strengthens and connects us. Nevertheless, it holds a few dangers that we should protect ourselves from for an exuberant and carefree love life. Contracting an STD can happen faster than you think and often go undetected for too long.
HIV poses the greatest threat to our health and in some cases can become life-threatening. Are you concerned that you may have contracted the virus or do you want to protect yourself before a new relationship? Do not hesitate and perform an HIV test.
You can learn everything you need to know about HIV testing in this article.
What makes the HI Virus so dangerous?
First of all, it is important to know how HIV gets into your organism and can weaken your immune system. “HIV” stands for “Human Immunodeficiency Virus.” The virus is a retrovirus and can include its genetic material in the genetic material of attacked host cells. Predominantly, the HI Virus attacks the T-helper cells, which weakens the immune system of the affected organism.
As a result, the body is much more susceptible to diseases that are unproblematic and essentially harmless in uninfected individuals.
The danger is hidden behind too late detection of infection and possible development of AIDS. If a HI Virus infection is not treated, it can lead to AIDS, the so-called “Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome”.
It poses a serious threat to human health because the immune system is severely weakened and pathogens can easily enter the body. Infected individuals often suffer from pneumonia and fungal infections.
There are several ways to become infected with HIV.
Unprotected sexual intercourse
HIV belongs to the STIs, the sexually transmitted infections. Infection therefore occurs in many cases through unprotected sexual intercourse.
Here there is a risk of being infected with the HI Virus. However, concerns are only legitimate unless you know your partner’s HIV status or it is known that one of the people involved carries the virus.
Unprotected vaginal and anal intercourse are particularly risky. With unprotected oral sex, the risk is already significantly lower, but infection cannot be completely ruled out. There is also a small risk of infection when blood and semen are ingested in the mouth.
An exuberant love life with many changing sexual partners increases the risk of infection immensely. In such cases, always check each other’s HIV status before intercourse and use safe protection.
If blood infected with HIV enters your bloodstream, the risk of contracting the virus is high. For this reason, only clean instruments should be used during a blood transfusion.
Drug use with shared syringes
Among people who regularly use drugs, the risk of infection with HIV is particularly high. If you consume drugs intravenously, you should in any case be careful not to share the syringe used with any other person.
First inconspicuous, then dangerous - symptoms of infection
In many cases, an infection is discovered much later than what would have been possible because the initial symptoms are understood to be harmless and are mistaken for flu symptoms. This is because only in the course of later phases, with an advanced spread of the virus in the organism, do the symptoms become more severe.
Common symptoms – with decreasing probability include the following:
- General feeling of illness
- Loss of appetite
- Joint pain
- Skin rash
- Night sweats
- Muscle pain
- Fever in combination with skin rash
- Sore throat/inflammation of the throat
- Mouth ulcers
- More than 2.5 kg abrupt weight loss
Infected people can live for a long time without contracting AIDS with the help of appropriate treatment. To make treatment possible, a positive test result must be presented. If you have concerns about your HIV status, do not hesitate to get HIV tested. Many different options are open to you.
The HIV test - the only reliable option
An HIV test is the only way to find out if you have HIV. There are different types of HIV tests that are performed in different ways. You can take a test anonymously, with counseling at testing sites such as AIDS help centers, public health offices, or checkpoints, and with your primary care doctor.
An HIV test always involves a blood test.
1. The laboratory test
In a lab test, your doctor will draw blood from you, which will be sent to a lab for testing. This is an antigen-antibody test in which your blood is tested for antibodies and components of the HI virus. An infection can only be reliably detected six weeks after the risk contact. You will receive the test result after two days.
2. The quick test
Rapid tests are usually performed in counseling centers. Here, a drop of blood from your fingertip is examined. This is an antibody test, which means that your blood is tested exclusively for antibodies against the HI virus. A reliable statement can only be made three months after the risk contact. You will receive the test result after approx. 30 minutes.
3. The self test
The self-test is a quick test that you can perform privately at home. For many people, this option represents the most pleasant. Again, take a drop of blood from your fingertip. Here, too, a reliable statement can only be made three months after risk contact. You will usually receive the test result after 15-30 minutes.
However, self-tests may provide inaccurate results. Here you should pay close attention to the CE mark and use only approved tests.
When should you get tested?
HIV testing only makes sense if you are very uncertain about your HIV status or that of your partner, have an active sex life with changing partners or observe abnormal changes in your body.
If you notice any of the above signs, it is advisable to get tested for HIV. If you have had a risky contact, you should definitely take an HIV test to make sure. Pregnant women are also advised to take an HIV test as a precautionary measure, as there is a risk that the baby will already be infected with the virus in the womb.
Do you use drugs intravenously with others on a regular basis, an HIV test can give you a clear picture of your health status.
Threatening, but not untouchable - possible treatments
If you receive a positive test result, a second confirmatory test with a new blood sample is necessary in any case. Appropriate treatment of the infection can only be approached after double-checking.
If the test result is negative, you should also have a PCR examination performed. This will be positive 1-2 weeks earlier than an antibody test in the case of infection and can correct a possible false negative result.
You have the option of preventing HIV in yourself in the course of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This is a preventive drug therapy in which you regularly take medicines that reduce the amount of virus in your blood. HIV is therefore not detectable and also not transmissible.
Such treatment is useful for people with an increased risk of infection. The treatment is covered by the statutory health insurance. People on this treatment must be tested with an HIV test before starting prophylaxis, four weeks after starting treatment, and then every three months.
This is contrasted with post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP). This form of treatment is useful if your risk of infection is very high. Here, too, you will receive appropriate medication, which you must take within two hours at best, and no later than 48 hours after risk contact has occurred. The spread of the HI viruses can thus be prevented at an early stage.
It is important to say that if the virus is detected early and appropriate therapy is given, your life expectancy is just as high as it is for the general population. Treated people can live their lives as usual without major restrictions.
Do not hesitate ...
… to have an HIV test carried out. Many people are uncomfortable with such an examination because they provide strangers with information about their sex life. However, an HIV test should not be something to be ashamed of. In any case, the examination applies to your well-being and that of those around you.
Security is the foundation for an exuberant, more pleasurable love life. Safer sex is the keyword here to prevent possible infections. Always find out about your partner’s HIV status and protect yourself one time too much rather than one time too little.
With Probatix it is now very easy to have an HIV test carried out regularly and to call up the results. Simply register at Probatix Health and make an appointment!