What is HIV?
HIV is the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is a virus that over time damages your immune system which can then lead to the development of AIDS. As such HIV is a potential life threatening illness. You can read more about HIV at the Wiki.
What is the difference between HIV-1 and HIV-2?
There are two strains of HIV. HIV-1 is the retrovirus usually associated with the epidemic in most of the world. HIV-2 is primarily epidemic in West Africa. The home use rapid test kits that we supply are effective in detecting both strains.
How is HIV is transmitted from one individual to another?
The HIV virus is transmitted by the body fluids of an HIV-infected person entering another person (through blood or body opening). Typically HIV cannot be transmitted by light body contact that exchanges fluids such as sweat or tears etc. For HIV infection to take place the HIV virus must enter the bloodstream of the person usually through sexual contact or blood exchanges (which includes transfusions and such practices that potentially exchange blood such as tattooing and needle sharing). The HIV virus is effective at entering the bloodstream through the mucus membranes or through small breaks in the skin which is why unprotected sexual intercourse is such a high risk in terms of HIV infection. Infection through sexual intercourse usually occurs through unprotected vaginal or anal sex as the infected body fluids enter through the mucous membrane or small skin breaks in the vagina or anus.
Are some HIV infected individuals more contagious?
Any individual infected with HIV is a potential risk in terms of infection. There are some variables such as your own immunes system strength and how long ago the individual was infected. Recently infected individuals who are most likely unaware of their infection are very contagious. This is of course a high risk as you have a person who does not know they are infected who has practices unsafe sex (which is the likely cause of their infection) putting others at risk when they are most infectious.
Is there a vaccine for HIV?
Recent research has developed a combination of anti-viral drugs that have shown potential to seriously reduce the risk of being infected with HIV. It is however not 100% certain and of course it has a health payload as do any significant drug cocktail. The testing sides solution to HIV awareness and safe sex is by far the most responsible and safest way to ensure you and others stay safe. HIV testing saves lives. Taking risks with unprotected sex puts lives at risk. Even the very act of delaying HIV testing could result in additional and avoidable HIV infection.
What are HIV Symptoms?
Fever, aches and fatigue are some of the symptoms that may occur during the development of antibodies to the HIV virus which develop between 4-12 weeks after infection. However these are also common cold/flu symptoms and many individuals develop no symptoms at all. As such it is widely recognised that HIV infection has no unique and identifiable symptoms.
I need to test for HIV infection?
If you have had unprotected sex with any individual of which you do not 100% know their HIV status then you are at risk from HIV infection. If you have had a blood transfusion, been cut by a needle or received a tattoo from a technician who shares needles or ink (blood in ink is a potential risk) then you are at risk from HIV infection. If your sexual partner(s) are all tested negative for HIV and have not had any at risk behaviour in the last 12 weeks then they pose no risk to you in terms of HIV. It is important to remember many people are less than truthful about unprotected sexual history and many have knowingly been at risk and put off testing for personal reasons. It is these individuals who predominantly infect others with HIV.
What about the other STIs/STDs?
Chlamydia, Gonorrhoea, Syphilis and Hepatitis B all pose serious health risks if left undiagnosed and treated. Testing is easy with our Multi-std test kit pack.,
How long must I wait before testing?
Testing for HIV involves the detection of HIV antibodies that are produced by the immune system in response to HIV infection. These antibodies can take up to 3 months to develop and become detectable in the bloodstream. However in most individuals this occurs within the 1st 4 weeks after HIV infection. So if you have had unprotected sex you should start testing 4 weeks after the incident and conclude testing 12 weeks after the incident. So as such, when testing a potential sex partner to see if they are safe to have unprotected sex with, unless you are 100% aware of their full sexual history over the last 12 weeks then a negative result now has no value as they may not have yet developed the HIV antibodies.
Where can I buy the HIV home test kits in Australia?
Currently in Australia the rapid HIV test kits are not available through any retail outlets and are only available for sale online. You can elect to visit an STI/STD clinic, many of whom use rapid test kits. If you decide to purchase your STD/STI/HIV rapid test kits directly then they will be delivered discreetly to your home and you can test at your own convenience in total privacy.
How long must I wait for the results?
All our STI/STD/HIV test kits give 99%+ accurate results within minutes. You do not need to send any sample through the pots as the kits function with a small sample fluid and then indicate to you via a results window. All kits come with easy to follow instructions.
I’m confused, what should I do?
If you are in doubt or have serious concerns about your HIV status or that of your current or recent partner then you should test. If you do not feel able to test by yourself then you should consult your GP urgently and refrain from any sexual contact until your status is known.