For some decades now, HIV has been one of the pathogens that has spread the fastest in the world and has caused the greatest damage. It is transmitted by sexual contacteither between people of the same or different gender, and it takes time to cause visible signs, so the infection often goes undetected for a long time.
For this reason, HIV tests are a very useful tool to know if a person is or is not infected by this virusand therefore if you should take certain measures to prevent complications or transmit the disease to other couples.
Who should have it done and when is it done?
As explained by the Ministry of Health, any person, man or woman, can be infected with HIV if they have had risky practices, that is, if have been exposed to the virus through unprotected sex or through blood.
Therefore, it is recommended Get tested for HIV:
- To all the people who want it.
- Women who are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.
- In the event of any suspicion of risky exposure, either through penetrative sex without a condom with a woman or man with HIV infection or through penetrative sex without a condom with one or more partners of whom you did not know if they were infected or not .
- Anyone who has suffered from a sexually transmitted infection: gonorrhea, syphilis, chlamydia…
- To those who have a stable partner and want to stop using condoms in their sexual relations.
- To those who come from countries with a high prevalence of HIV (greater than 1%).
- Those who have had unprotected sex with people from countries with a high prevalence of HIV infection.
- Anyone who uses or has used drugs and their sexual partners.
- Men who have sex with men and their sexual partners.
- Those who practice prostitution and their sexual partners.
- To heterosexual people with more than one partner and/or risk practices in the last twelve months.
- Those who have suffered a sexual assault.
- To those who have occupational risk exposure.
- To those who present signs or symptoms that may be similar to an HIV infection.
Those who take the test after a risky practice should not wait: they must see your doctor or health center and state your case. The professionals, then, will assess when and how the test should be performed.
When an infection has occurred, it takes time for the body to produce detectable antibodies; this period is called the ‘window period’. It usually takes 2-8 weeks from infection to detectable antibodies, but in some people it takes up to 6 months.
Why do it?
According to Health, in Spain between 25% and 30% of people with HIV infection you don’t know your situationand it is estimated that more than half of new infections come from this population group.
It must be remembered that an early diagnosis allows you to benefit as soon as possible from a medical follow-up and access effective treatment that prevents disease progression, improves quality of life, and increases survival. It also makes it possible to take preventive measures to avoid transmitting the disease to other people, especially if we take into account that infectivity is especially high in the first weeks.
How and where can it be done?
The HIV test can be carried out in health centers of the public network free and confidentialincluding family planning centers, centers for the diagnosis and prevention of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), specialized care centers (hospitals and specialty centers) and primary care centers.
Likewise, in some autonomous communities (Cantabria, Castilla y León, Catalonia, Ceuta and Euskadi) it can be done in the pharmacyand can also be done in clinical analysis laboratories.
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