The Process of Being Tested for HIV

The process of being tested for HIV can be an important thing to know ahead of time. This is because, for some people, it can be very stressful not to know, but also because of the different types of tests available. There are not only blood tests, the nucleic acid test which uses a swab, and urine tests available, but there is also the decision of using a clinic, doctor or home testing kit. For each of the options above there is different information a person may want to have ahead of time and each has a different process involved.

Is Testing Confidential?

There are also different processes involved depending on where a person lives. For the United States, all tests are either anonymous or confidential. When an individual has their tests done confidentially, he or she can give his or her name and have the process done in a normal fashion. This normally means that depending on which test he or she chooses, they can simply be tested and wait for the results if they are taking a urine test or nucleic acid test.

Is An Appointment Necessary?

An individual then has a decision to make regarding drop-in clinic or appointment. Many people prefer to get an appointment because then they are able to know that not only will there be less of a crowd, more than likely they will not have to wait as long to get the results of the test. In addition, an individual then knows that he or she will be seen, whereas some of the time if there are too many people who come to a drop-in clinic it can become too much; some people may not get to see the doctor or the individuals who are giving the test before the work hours are over.

The ELISA and Western Blot Tests

In consideration of the aforementioned differences between blood tests, urine tests, and the nucleic acid test, the main difference for many people on which they will choose has to do primarily with the blood test. The blood test is thought to be most reliable and there are two given. There is the ELISA, which checks for HIV, and the Western Blot, which makes sure that the results of the ELISA test are accurate if a person tests positive.

Keeping the Test as Comfortable as Possible

The main deciding factor that is most reliable is whether a person is more comfortable with needles, a cotton swab sample taken from the back of their throat, or urinating in a container for them to test the urine. Many people find that they are not comfortable with needles and would prefer to choose a different form of testing. In addition, while urine tests and the nucleic acid test take less time to get results on, with a blood test, the test is harder to do and so the results are mailed to the individual or picked up because of the amount of time that they take.

With the urine tests, some individuals are very uncomfortable urinating in the container and then giving it to the nurse or doctor to be tested. There are some people who feel that this is an invasion of their privacy or that this should not be done because of the urine being considered waste. Other problems may include if a person gets nervous when they are asked to urinate at a specific time. While some may be uncomfortable with urine testing, it is often used because it is much faster to test. Therefore, at clinics, they are able to have more patients be treated in less time than if they were doing blood tests or other forms of testing.

The Nucleic Acid Test

Then there is the nucleic acid test, which for some is something they may not be able to do very easily. There are some people who may not be able to control their gag reflex as the cotton swab reaches or moves towards the back of their throat. The main reason that this would get in the way of the testing is because if a person does end up purging then they have contaminated the sample taken and it is unable to be used. Another sample has to be taken or they have to choose another form of HIV testing. The overall process can change, and depending on what an individual would find most comfortable, this can help make it easier for a person who is nervous about testing.

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