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HIV Counseling, Testing, and Referral

Why test?

According to the CDC, an estimated one out of four HIV-positive Americans are unaware of their infection. Awareness of HIV infection leads to substantial reductions in high-risk sexual behavior. People who are infected with HIV but not aware of it are not able to take advantage of the therapies that can keep them healthy and extend their lives, nor do they have the knowledge to protect their sex or drug-use partners from becoming infected. Knowing whether one is positive or negative for HIV confers great benefits in healthy decision making.

The following are behaviors that increase your chances of getting HIV. If you answer yes to any of them, you should definitely get an HIV test. If you continue with any of these behaviors, you should be tested every year. Talk to a health care provider about an HIV testing schedule that is right for you.

  • Have you injected drugs or steroids or shared equipment (such as needles, syringes, works) with others?
  • Have you had unprotected vaginal, anal, or oral sex with men who have sex with men, multiple partners, or anonymous partners?
  • Have you exchanged sex for drugs or money?
  • Have you been diagnosed with or treated for hepatitis, tuberculosis (TB), or a sexually transmitted disease (STD), like syphilis?
  • Have you had unprotected sex with someone who could answer yes to any of the above questions?

If you have had sex with someone whose history of sex partners and/or drug use is unknown to you or if you or your partner has had many sex partners, then you have more of a chance of being infected with HIV. Both you and your new partner should get tested for HIV, and learn the results, before having sex for the first time.

For women who plan to become pregnant, testing is even more important. If a woman is infected with HIV, medical care and certain drugs given during pregnancy can lower the chance of passing HIV to her baby. All women who are pregnant should be tested during each pregnancy.

HIV Testing

Although there have been technological changes, HIV testing in the U.S. still follows the same basic testing procedure as in 1985.

HIV infection is only considered confirmed after two types of tests have been done, a screening test and a confirmatory test. Confirmatory testing is only done after screening tests have been repetitively positive.  

Screening Tests

EIA/ELISA

The most common screening test is the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), sometimes called enzyme immunoassay (EIA).

Rapid Tests

Like conventional HIV enzyme immunoassays (EIAs), rapid HIV tests are screening tests that require confirmation if reactive. Rapid testing facilitates patients receiving their test results the same day, usually at the encounter where the test specimen is collected.

Confirmatory Tests

The Western blot is the most common confirmatory test, others are sometime used, including the indirect fluorescent antibody assay (IFA) and the radioimmunoprecipitation assay (RIPA). 

Oklahoma has two types of HIV testing available – confidential testing and anonymous testing.

A few sites offer both confidential and anonymous testing. Before making an appointment, you can ask which tests are offered at the testing site. At those sites that offer both confidential and anonymous testing, you will be allowed to choose the type of test you want.  Click here for a list of locations (PDF).HIVTest.org

The results of all positive HIV tests are reported to the Oklahoma State Department of Health to assist in providing services and to help understand and control the HIV/AIDS epidemic.

Confidential testing – means that your name is recorded with your test result. Your record will not be shared with anyone who does not legally have access to your medical records unless you give written permission. 

Anonymous testing – means no one will ask your name. You are the only one who can tell anyone else your results.

 


Special Announcements
This site contains HIV prevention messages that might not be appropriate for all audiences. Since HIV infection is spread primarily through sexual practices or by sharing needles, prevention messages and programs on this website may address these topics. If you are not seeking such information or may be offended by such materials, please exit this website.

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