Test YYJ

#Test YYJ is a project of VPWAS to provide information and guidance for STI/STD and HIV testing n Victoria and on Vancouver Island.

Do I Need to Get Tested for HIV?
Many people look and feel healthy and do not think they are at risk. But the truth is that anyone of any age, gender, race, sexual orientation, or social or economic class can become infected. It is your actions (or the actions taken against you), that put you at risk.

Answer the following questions:

  • Have you ever had vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom?
  • Have you ever shared needles or syringes to inject drugs (including steroids or hormones)?
  • Are you uncertain of your partner’s status or is your partner HIV+?
  • Are you pregnant or considering becoming pregnant?
  • Have you ever had a sexually transmitted disease (STD)?
  • Do you have hepatitis C (HCV)?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you should definitely get an HIV test.

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When In Doubt, Test!
While we know that some types of sexual activities are much lower risk than others (with some activities only being a theoretical risk, not a proven risk) and the proven effectiveness of condoms, there are no guarantees. The fact is, it is very difficult to be 100% certain that you did not engage in any risk behaviour, especially if you have any sort of unprotected sexual activity with a person known to be HIV positive or you do not know what his or her HIV status is. Abstinence—or sexual activity only in a monogamous relationship in which both partners are HIV negative—is the only way to eliminate the risk of HIV infection.

The only way to know for sure whether you have been infected, even after an activity that is considered to be very low risk for HIV transmission, is to get tested. Also, if you’ve been infected with another STD, getting tested for HIV too is a really good idea.

It is important to note that HIV testing is not automatically anonymous – you will need to find a site that offers this service if you want an anonymous test.

HIV is a reportable disease in British Columbia. If your test is positive, your result will be reported locally to Public Health.

All persons testing for HIV must be offered the choice between nominal (using your name) and non-nominal options (using initials).

A public health nurse (or personal heathcare provider) will follow up each new HIV case to provide assistance with the voluntary process of partner notification and partner counselling.

* When inquiring about testing, make sure to ask if they provide pre and post test counselling.

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Types of Tests

The Rapid or Point of Care (POC) HIV test is useful for routine testing and/or if you don’t want to wait several days for the results. The Rapid HIV test detects HIV antibodies in the blood. Most guys (about 90%) will develop enough HIV antibodies to be detected three to four weeks after infection. The Rapid HIV test gives you a result in a few minutes, eliminating the stress of waiting a week for results. The Rapid test uses a blood specimen taken by poking your finger with a lance and then drawing some of this blood into a fine plastic tube. The Rapid test is just as accurate as a Standard HIV test. If you test negative, then you do not require any further tests. If you are positive, then you will need a further blood test using a specimen that needs to be sent to a laboratory.
The Early HIV test is useful if you’ve had a recent risk incident (anal sex without a condom with someone whose status was different or unknown) or a known exposure to HIV. The Early test reduces the window period (the time you have to wait before getting tested) to only ten to 12 days. The test is performed on a blood specimen taken from your arm, just like a Standard test. The Early HIV test looks for the actual HIV virus, not antibodies produced in response to the virus. That means the test can detect if you are infected when you are still in the window period of an antibody test.
The Standard HIV test can be used for routine testing or when the Rapid HIV test is not available. The Standard HIV test detects HIV antibodies in the blood. As with the Rapid test, most people (about 90%) will develop enough HIV antibodies to be detected three to four weeks after infection. The big difference is that it is done with blood drawn from a vein. The blood is sent to a lab and you will have to wait up to five days for the result. If it is negative, then you don’t require any further tests. If the result is positive, you will need another test to confirm
“Window Period”, what is that?
From the moment the HIV virus enters the body, it takes time for the immune system to develop enough HIV antibodies to be measurable by a Rapid or Standard HIV test. The period of time required for the body to produce enough HIV antibodies to become detectable by a Rapid or Standard HIV test is called the window period. HIV tests currently administered in British Columbia have a window period that can last anywhere between ten to 12 days (Early HIV test) and three months (Rapid and Standard tests).

*We at VPWAS are not medical professionals, nor claim to be. We are persons living with HIV/AIDS and present this blog/website for information/educational purposes only.

test yyj

Vancouver Island Persons Living With HIV/AIDS Society (VPWAS) 101 - 1139 Yates Street, Coast Salish Territories, Victoria, BC. V8V 3N2
Phone: 250.382.7927 | Fax: 250.382.3232 | Toll Free: 1.877.382.7927 | support@vpwas.org | www.vpwas.org |