What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is the virus that causes AIDS. HIV targets and destroys specific cells of the immune system called CD4+ T cells, a type of white blood cells that are vital for fighting off infections and diseases. Unlike some other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), because HIV is a viral disease, it is impossible to get rid of it once it is contracted. Once you have an HIV infection, you carry the virus for life. Doctors cannot cure the infection, but antiretroviral therapies (ARTs) are available to control and manage the disease. With proper medical care and treatment, an individual diagnosed with HIV can live a long, healthy life.
How do you test for HIV?
At STDcheck.com, we test for HIV using the FDA-approved HIV 4th Generation Antibody test (detects both HIV antibodies and antigens in the blood 2-3 weeks after exposure) or the HIV RNA Early Detection test which looks for the presence of the HIV virus directly in the blood, and is conclusive in 9-11 days. We are the only online STD testing service that offers this HIV RNA test— offering you peace of mind sooner.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted mainly through sexual intercourse. The virus is spread via blood, semen (cum), pre-seminal fluid (pre-cum), vaginal and rectal fluids. It can also be transmitted from mother to infant during delivery or through breast milk. Having unprotected sex with someone who has HIV exposes you to the disease. HIV infection risk is highest among those who engage in anal sex and secondly by vaginal sex and intravenous drug users who share needles and/or drug equipment with others.
How soon can I get tested for HIV after exposure?
It depends on whether you are taking our HIV 4th Generation Antibody blood test (which detects for both HIV antibodies and antigens) or the HIV RNA blood test (which detects HIV's genetic material, known as RNA). Wait at least 2-3 weeks for HIV antibodies/antigens to develop in the blood before taking the HIV 4th Generation Antibody Test. If you want to take the HIV RNA Early Detection test, wait at least 9-11 days after exposure before taking the test to ensure enough viral material can be detected. Both of these tests are FDA-approved, and the HIV RNA test results are conclusive in 9-11 days after possible exposure.
What do I need to do to prepare for a HIV test?
You do not need to do anything or fast to prepare for our FDA-approved HIV 4th Generation Antibody test or our HIV RNA Early Detection test.
See our HIV Testing information.