Contracting HIV can be devastating to individuals, families, and even bear a terrible impact on the lives this horrible disorder effects. On the other hand, early detection can be extremely beneficial, opening untold windows into treatment and ultimately prevention of the long term condition, AIDS.
In fact, the earlier a victim realizes what he has, the better that person's chances and medical treatment available! HIV doesn’t need to be the life altering, fearful condition many people think. Are you looking for one of the fastest, most reliable early detection tests for HIV?
What is the HIV RNA Test?
The HIV RNA test is the best option available for early detection. Researchers claim tests are 99% effective, so there is no need to worry about the findings! HIV tests usually measure the levels of the antibodies that fight HIV, compared to RNA-based tests, detecting the virus itself in the bloodstream.
In other words, the HIV RNA test detects the virus as soon as it is detectable in the bloodstream, before antibodies begin to develop. It actually takes your body up to 3 months to produce a detectable level of antibodies in reaction to the virus!
Able to detect a new HIV infection without the presence of antibodies (body's proteins produced in order to combat infections) in the body’s blood, the new HIV RNA test is the best, most accurate early HIV detection test available on the market today.
- RNA Tests are mostly used to monitor the progression of disease in an HIV-infected person.
- The tests are used to diagnose primary (recent) infection also.
- The testing window is very short.
- False positives are unfortunately common in HIV RNA Tests.
- HIV RNA Tests are used to screen blood donations commonly.
To determine whether or not a person is infected with HIV, RNA levels are measured in the bloodstream. In an infected person, RNA levels get very high during primary infection, usually above 100,000 copies/ml (vs. a norm like 5,000). To be specific, the p24 antigen is detectable even before antibodies are made by the body's immune system, meaning the virus hasn’t yet begun to impact a person's health at this stage.
- False positives are common. But there is absolutely no need to worry! They are easily identified. A reactive test with a low viral load (see above) will be re-tested and confirmed.
How Accurate is the HIV RNA Test?
Experts claim the HIV RNA test is 99% accurate, available 9-11 days after exposure but not reliable before this point. False positives do occur, but are easy to spot. Regardless of the result, follow up tests are available to confirm. In the end, the HIV RNA test is extremely accurate in comparison to other options!
- The HIV RNA test is 90% accurate at 10 to 12 days after exposure, and 99% accurate at 12 weeks after.
- Though the test is very accurate, false positives do occur. If this happens, in the unlikely, extremely rare case doctors aren’t simply able to see a false positive for what it is, there is almost 0% chance a second test will yield the same false results.
Who Can Be Tested with the HIV RNA Test?
Anyone having known to, or believed to have been exposed to the HIV virus through unprotected sex, contact with infected blood, an infected mother pregnant or caring for her newborn child, or anyone who has shared dirty (non-sterile) needles are among those who can benefit from early testing and detection.
- Potential Exposure to HIV-1 in the past 12 weeks
- Individuals who have received reactive (positive) results on an HIV antibody test
- Negative or indeterminate results received from supplemental testing
- Infants born to infected mothers
Cost of HIV RNA Testing
When it comes to top of the line medical care, most people are concerned with financial cost and whether or not their insurance can help make that cost easier on them. Before anything else, understand that no matter how much you might think HIV testing like the HIV RNA test costs or how expensive it is, the cost or good medical treatment is vastly cheaper the earlier a person realizes he or she is infected. In other words, ultimate treatment is both cheaper and more effective the earlier a person can get it.
Cost will differ depending on the medical facility used and insurance policy a person has, but flat pricing averages around $150- $175. Though this form of testing is slightly more expensive than many others, the increase in cost is easily outweighed by the treatment benefits early detection offers.
Why Should You Choose the HIV RNA Test ASAP?
Because both HIV and ultimately AIDS can bear such a devastating impact on human lives, it’s extremely important victims realize they are carriers as soon as possible! Not only can this knowledge both prevent knowingly transmitting the disease to others, it can help slow the spread of this condition and vastly improve treatment options.
- About 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe.
- In 2013, about 50,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the US.
- According to scientists, every one out of eight people infected with HIV or AIDS aren’t aware.
- Getting tested is the only way to be sure, and the HIV RNA test is your fastest option!
- Discovering infection quickly means early access to treatment, and better health chances.
When can you get tested?
HIV RNA tests will be accurate after 9-11 days of exposure to the virus!
What does RNA stand for?
RNA stands for ‘ribonucleic acid’, a genetic messenger present in all the body's cells that carries instructions meant to control the synthesis of proteins from DNA. Such as this case, RNA can also be the genetic material making up the HIV virus and some other viruses.
What is HIV?
HIV stands for ‘Human Immunodeficiency Virus’, which basically attacks a person’s immune system. The virus is unique in the way that it lowers the body's ability to defend against other invaders, viruses, bacteria, etc.
- HIV is transmitted by infected blood, breast milk or sexual fluids. There is no documented case of HIV being transmitted by tears or saliva!
All viruses need to infect living cells in order to reproduce. HIV takes over the ‘T Cells’ responsible for defending the body, basically turning the cell into a virus factory. The infected cells then begin to produce thousands of copies of the virus, which in turn begin invading other T cells and repeating the entire process. Not only do infected cells cease to work properly, they die early.
Common Symptoms of HIV:
- Sore throat
- Fever inducing headache
- Nightly sweats
- Joint pain
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Rash present
- Muscle aches and pains
- Ulcers on/around genitals or in the mouth
Chronic symptoms of HIV:
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Continuous fatigue
- Continued weight loss
- Shortness of breath
How is HIV Transmitted?
- Via unprotected sex
- Sharing needles or syringes
- Sharing other equipment used to prepare drugs
- Mother to child via birth, breastfeeding, pregnancy
Less Common or Rare:
- Oral sex
- Blood Transfusion
- Organ/tissue transplants
- Eating food pre-chewed from infected victim
- Bitten by infected individual
- Broken skin contact with infected individual
- Open mouth kissing; contact with bleeding gums
HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days.
What is AIDS?
Without treatment, an HIV infected patient will eventually progress to developing AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) over approximately the course of 10 years (estimation). In layman's terms, AIDS is a disease causing a severe deterioration of a person’s cellular immunity, greatly lowering his or her ability to fight off infection and disease.
- The CDC estimates about 1.3 million people are living with AIDS in the USA, approximately 15% of them not knowing it!
In the end, it isn’t the virus itself that kills a person. It is the destruction of their immune system. At this stage, a minor common cold could be lethal to someone infected with AIDS.
Symptoms of AIDS
- Continued weight loss
- Skin rashes or/and bumps
- Chronic diarrhea
- Shortness of breath
- Severe chills
- Continuous fever higher than 100 Fahrenheit for weeks
- Frequent Lethargy or Fatigue
- White spots or/and abnormal lesions on the tongue and inside the mouth
- Distorted or blurred vision
Important, Common Questions
Will HIV always lead to AIDS in every single case?
HIV infection can eventually lead to AIDS, but with treatment it doesn’t always have to. Being diagnosed with HIV isn’t nearly as dire today as it was a decade ago, and patients often continue to live perfectly normal lives with proper medical treatment.
With the combination of powerful antiviral therapy techniques, or ART, and today’s vast advances in medical understanding, it’s easily possible for infected men and women to live long and happy lives.
As long as someone chooses to make the best health decisions possible, remains in constant communication with their doctor, and sticks to their strict treatment regimen, progression to the final stage of HIV infection- AIDS - can be significantly delayed.
Does everyone who contracts AIDS eventually die from AIDS?
Although it isn’t fully understood why or how, there have been two known cases of humans who have been cured of the AIDS virus (depending on the source). Remember, there have been countless millions of reported AIDS related cases, not including those that go unreported, making the likelihood a victim will be cured all but non-existent.
Remarkable Case of Survival
One well known case involved a 45 year old man suffering from AIDS, who also developed Leukemia (cancer). Upon being diagnosed with cancer, this person underwent a bone marrow transplant. His doctor searched for a donor with a rare genetic resistance to HIV.
The combination of the transplant received from this resistant donor with the rare mutation, on top of both powerful radiation and chemotherapy treatment allowed this person to remain undetectable for the AIDS virus even five years later.
Will every HIV patient eventually get AIDS?
With today’s medical advances and understanding, most HIV infected patients won’t develop AIDS as long as they strictly maintain their antiretroviral therapy. Though this is true in most cases, there are times when AIDS is inevitable and can’t be prevented.
Regardless the person or case, however, chances are always without a doubt improved with good medical care and early detection.
Can I get HIV from an infected person’s saliva (kissing)?
Believe it or not, there has been no known case of a person contracting HIV infection from another sick person's saliva. The virus can be spread through contact with sores on the mouth or bleeding gums, so activities like kissing are still very dangerous.
How long can I live with HIV?
First, understand that it isn’t actually HIV or even AIDS that will cause the death of a person. Deaths ultimately result from their body’s inability to fight off infection from foreign invaders (example: common cold, flu) due to their diminished immune systems and the damage the virus does to those immune systems.
The earlier an HIV infected patient is able to get medical care, the better the chances are for a long, healthy life. Even back in 2011, seven years ago, the total average life expectancy of a person with HIV was estimated to be an unbelievable 70 years!