HIV: What are the different types of screening and when to test?
25,000. This is the number of HIV-positive people without knowing it, according to data from Public Health France dating from 2017.
Disturbing figures, which prove, if necessary, the need for screening tests: they are now the only way to know if one is infected with HIV. To do so, different types of screening tests are possible.
The classic test
The classic test, called the Elisa test, can be performed 6 weeks after taking a risk. This is a blood test performed in a laboratory, the purpose of which is to find the presence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2, a sign of infection. It is completely reliable if it is done in a timely manner.
The quick test
The diagnostic-based rapid diagnostic test (TROD) provides a result in 30 minutes maximum. It can be done 12 weeks after the risk report, in some free information, screening and diagnostic centers (CeGIDD) or some associations.
A simple drop of blood taken at the fingertip is enough. If the TROD is positive, it must nevertheless be confirmed by a standard HIV test.
The self-test can be done 12 weeks after taking the risk. It can be done alone and at home, thanks to a lancing device and from a drop of blood. The result, obtained after 15 minutes, is reliable if the deadlines are respected. But again, a positive result must be confirmed by a laboratory test.
Diagnostics too late
In 2017, 5.6 million HIV serologies were performed by the laboratories. Problem: Nearly one-third of HIV-positive discoveries are too late, as in 2017, 30% of people were diagnosed with advanced HIV infection.
And that's not all: half of the HIV-positive discoveries involved people who said they had never been tested before. Sida Info Service reminds that it is necessary to carry out a screening test if:
- you have never done it before;
- you are considering a life as a couple, and stopping the condom;
- you have been or are using drugs, especially if you have exchanged injection equipment with other drug users.
You do not protect yourself systematically when you have sex with casual partners? It is recommended to have a screening test at least once a year.
Sources: the sites VIH.org and Sida Info Service.
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