HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body's defence against illness. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system, the body’s defence against illness. If left untreated, HIV can lead to AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). HIV and AIDS can’t be cured, but the medications available today help people live normal life spans.
How is HIV passed on?
HIV is present in sexual fluids and blood of infected people, it may also be in the breast-milk of infected women. Because of the way in which HIV is spread the 2 most common ways of contracting the virus is through unprotected penetrative sex (where the penis enters the vagina or anus) and the use of infected needles and syringes. HIV can also be passed on to an unborn baby either before or during birth. There is a small risk of you contracting HIV through oral sex, but this is very rare.
HIV is not a strong virus and so doesn’t survive outside the body for long, this is why it is not possible for HIV to be contracted through touching, hugging, sharing cutlery, insect bites, toilet seats or eating food that has been prepared by a person with H.I.V.
Testing for H.I.V.
You could visit your GP or local Gum Clinic and they will be able to carry out a test for you. This will require a sample of blood being taken and being sent off to a laboratory where results could take up to 3 days to come back.
Nowadays there are new tests which can be carried out quickly and easily in the privacy of your own home and results will take only a matter of minutes to appear. We offer one of the few CE Marked Self-Testing kits for H.I.V. called Insti. It is over 99% accurate and is being used by several NHS clinics throughout the UK.
How does the test work?
The test uses simple flow-through technology to detect HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies using a drop of human fingerstick blood. The test does not detect the virus itself. The test dot will only be visible if HIV antibodies are present. The INSTI® HIV Self Test is simple to perform and very accurate, but it will only work correctly if you carefully read and follow the instructions. You may test positive with INSTI® HIV Self Test in as little as 21-22 days after infection, however, it can take as long as 3 months to produce a positive result. A negative result may not be accurate until 3 months after infection.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What is HIV and AIDS?
HIV stands for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if left untreated. When a person becomes infected with HIV, the virus begins to attack his or her immune system, which is the body’s defense against illness. As a result, that person becomes more susceptible to disease and infection.
When his or her body loses the ability to fight diseases, that person is diagnosed with AIDS. There is no cure for HIV infection. However, treatment for HIV is highly effective.
How does someone get infected with HIV?
HIV spreads through contact with blood, semen, pre-seminal fluid, rectal fluid, vaginal fluids, or breast milk of an infected person. Transmission can occur from unsafe sex. It can also result from exposure to blood through the sharing of used syringes or needles. Women living with HIV can pass the virus to their babies during pregnancy, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It is also possible to become infected with HIV through a blood transfusion, although this is now very rare.
HIV cannot be passed on from one person to another through casual contact. There is no risk of infection when we share everyday items such as food, dishes, utensils, clothes, beds and toilets with a person living with HIV. The virus is not spread from contact with sweat, tears, saliva, or a casual kiss from an infected person. People do not become infected from eating food prepared by a person living with HIV. People have not become infected with HIV through insect bites.
How do I make sure I get enough blood?
Relax and have a drink of water about 20 minutes before you start the test. Warm your hands by washing them with warm water. Ensure your hands are dry. Place your hand below waist level to promote blood flow. Before using the lancet, look for a spot on the side of your finger tip that is smooth and not calloused and away from your fingernail.
What is an antibody?
How accurate is the test?
Extensive research studies have shown that this test is extremely accurate when performed correctly. In a recent study performed by untrained users, the test sensitivity was 100%.
It also has a proven specificity (a measure of reliability that the test will be negative for people who do not have HIV infection) of 99.5%. In the untrained user study, the specificity was 99.8%.
*If you are unsure of your result you must go to a doctor to perform more testing.
The contents of Bottle 1, Bottle 2 or Bottle 3 do not absorb into the test device.
It is very rare for this to happen, but if it does, you will not be able to complete the test procedure and read the results. You will need to perform another test.
What happens if I spill some of the contents of Bottle 1, Bottle 2 or Bottle 3 outside the test device?
Keep going with the test procedure. As long as the control dot shows a visible dot after pouring Bottle 3 into the test device, the test results are valid.
How early can this test detect HIV?
Based on bioLytical’s studies, INSTI demonstrates third generation performance and detects HIV antibodies of the IgM and IgG class. IgM antibodies are the earliest antibodies that the body produces after an HIV infection and are detectable within 21-22 days.1,2 Depending on how quickly a person’s immune system generates HIV antibodies after infection, it could still take up to 3 months to get a positive result.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV within the last 3 months, and your results are negative, you will need to test again after at least 3 months have passed since your exposure. The time from HIV infection to when a test can correctly give a positive result is referred to as the ‘window period’.
1Moshgabadi N, Galli RA, Daly AC, Ko SM, Westgard TE, Bulpitt AF, Shackleton CR., 2015. “Sensitivity of a rapid point of care assay for early HIV antibody detection is enhanced by its ability to detect HIV gp41 IgM antibodies.” J Clin Virol. 2015 Oct; 71:67-72.
2M. Cohen, C. Gay, M. Busch, F. Hecht, The detection of acute HIV infection, J.Infect. Dis. 202 (2010) 270–277
I can’t see any dots
Make sure you have adequate lighting. If no dots are visible, you may not have completed the test correctly, or collected enough blood. You will need to perform another test.
How will I know if my test was done correctly?
The INSTI HIV Self Test has a built-in control dot to show that the test has been performed correctly and that you have added the proper sample type and amount of blood sample. If the control dot does not appear (invalid test result), your test has not worked. It is not possible to draw conclusions from this result and you will need to perform another test. In the event of repeated invalid results, consult a doctor.
To download the full instruction set please click here.
A Negative Result
As with many tests, there is a chance for false results. To reduce the chance of false results, be sure to follow the instructions and use the test correctly. If you have a negative result but you were involved in an HIV-risk activity in the past 3 months, you could be in what is called the “window period” and it is recommended to repeat testing at a later date.
A Positive Result
Consult a doctor as soon as possible and inform him/her that you have performed a self-test for HIV. All positive results must be confirmed by a laboratory test.
What Next After A Positive Result?
Having HIV does not mean you have AIDS. With early diagnosis and treatment, it is unlikely that you will develop AIDS.
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