Why Use HIV and STD Testing?

Anyone who is sexually active should have regular HIV and STD testing done. While you may believe that you are not at risk, it takes one partner to be infected and it can result in you being left with a sexually transmitted disease.

Of course in order to reduce the risk of contracting one of these diseases you will want to limit your sexual partners, use condoms and have frequent HIV and STD testing.

First take a look at HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus). Many people live with this disease without knowing they have it, yet early treatment can be the most beneficial. The sooner you have a test done and know your status, the better.

Some of the first signs and symptoms of HIV is a sore throat, fever and body rash. Though don’t fret if you have these signs, choose a HIV and STD testing solution to know your outcome, there are a number of viruses which can have the same symptoms, so don’t assume the worst until you have been tested.

You should know your status and get treatment as quickly as possible. Thousands of people live with HIV for many years, while there is no cure, there are effective treatments to help you manage and live with the disease for years.

HIV and STD testing should only be completed four weeks after exposure, as it takes time for the disease to show. Testing is done through a blood test and examined in a laboratory environment. Don’t worry this is done confidentially. Many laboratories use numbers not names, so your privacy is kept secure at all times.

Before your test, you should meet with a counsellor or advisor who can give you information on the testing procedure and answer any questions, putting your mind at ease. Remember there are thousands of people around the world that live with this disease, testing is essential to catch the disease early and to know your status moving forward.

Tests should be done when you have a new partner or multiple partners, if you or your partner is a drug user or you notice any signs or symptoms you feel could be the disease. There are early detection tests available, helping you know your HIV status at all times.

When it comes to STD’s (sexually transmitted diseases) there are a large number in addition to HIV. Gonorrhea, syphilis, hepatitis, chlamydia and so much more are disease you need to be aware of and tested for on a regular basis.

Ideally you should incorporate your tests, having a confidential HIV and STD testing done when you go for your regular tests. It will not only help you know your status, but you can get recommended treatment quickly if you are diagnosed with any of the diseases that are a result of sexual activity.

Treatments vary. There are some important things to bear in mind. After you have been diagnosed, some of the diseases are curable with medication, while others will be with you for life. Ensure that you refrain from sexual activity while you take your medication, reducing the risk of you passing the disease onto another person.

If you are diagnosed with Hepatitis C or HIV, you should always use condoms moving forward. Basic contraception, such as the pill or injection, will not reduce the risk of your new partner contracting the disease.

After your HIV and STD testing, ensure you seek professional guidance to help you manage your symptoms, if you are diagnosed as positive. You can learn how to manage the disease, how to prevent contracting the disease in the future and how to reduce the risk of passing it on to someone else moving forward.

Does HIV Mean AIDS?

There seems to be a notable ignorance as to the difference between the meaning of HIV and AIDS, as both are quite frequently spoken of within the same context. However, although both HIV and AIDS are related to one another, they are actually quite significantly different in terms as to what they mean to a sufferer.

First we will explain as to how someone can get diagnosed as having HIV.

HIV (the infection [virus]) is commonly caught through close bodily contact, where there is an exchange of body fluids (blood, semen, or vaginal secretions) usually with an infected person. That is to say – where one person is actually infected with the disease in the first place, and usually where unprotected sex (without the use of a preservative [condom]) has taken place.

99% of HIV infections result from having unprotected sex with someone, or sharing a needle (usually for injecting drugs [drug addicts]). However, a new-born baby can also be born with HIV if it's mother was infected previously, and did not take any form of antiretroviral therapy during her pregnancy.

That is to say – virtually all forms of sexual contact where there is an exchange of body fluids can result in someone being diagnosed with HIV; However, it is not the same case with kissing (there is no evidence to indicate that HIV can be passed-on through the exchange of saliva).

Forms of body fluid exchanges include: vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, oral sex (natural), and as previously mentioned, through sharing needles.

The term HIV is when someone actually has the infection, and HIV Positive is when someone is diagnosed with it.

H – Human: this is because it is believed that the virus can only infect human beings.

I – Immunodeficiency: this is because the effect of the virus creates a deficiency (a failure to work properly) within the body's immune system.

V – Virus: this is because the organism (the infection) is a virus. A virus does not reproduce itself, although it does reproduce by taking control of the workings of the human cells.

Human (H) Immunodeficiency (I) Virus (V) = HIV

And secondly we will explain as to what happens for HIV to become AIDS.

AIDS – is when one of two things happens:

1. The CD4 count of a HIV infected person drops below 200 / cc (a CD4 count below 200 cells / cc is called AIDS by definition [200 was chosen as a cut-off point for AIDS because most HIV-related infections or cancers are already present in patients who have less that 200 CD4 cells]).

"or"

2. If a HIV infection person develops either a HIV-related infection, or a HIV-related cancer, HIV becomes known as AIDS.

A – Acquired: this is because the condition is acquired by someone (gets infected with) and not something that can be transmitted through genes.

I – Immune: this is because it affects the body's immune system (the immune system is that which fights off disease [germs such as bacteria or viruses]).

D – Deficiency: this is because the virus makes the immune system deficient (makes the body not work properly).

S – Syndrome: this is because someone who has the development of AIDS usually experiences a wide-range of different diseases.

Acquired (A) Immune (I) Deficiency (D) Syndrome (S) = AIDS

Note: However, it should also be noted that HIV is not a GAY disease – "a common myth" – as ALL who engage in activities that may result in close bodily contact where there may be an exchange of body fluids (unprotected sex, needle sharing) are at risk from being infected by the disease. HIV does NOT discriminate: that is to say – if the shoe fits, anyone can be forced to wear it.

So the answer to the question is quite categorically, NO!