What is the best way to test for HIV?

Make sure you test for HIV correctly

You can be tested for HIV in a number of different ways. The most commonly used method is through antibody testing. This is performed with an oral swab, and results can be found in just minutes.

It replaces the older, but slightly more accurate method of blood testing. A blood test involves a needle, of course, which can be unpleasant for many people. Even though the results are slightly more precise initially, getting those results can take days, which is why it isn’t the preferred testing method anymore.

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It’s really up to you as to which one you want to use. You might not have the option for a blood test, depending on where you go, simply because the oral swab is so much faster and simpler. If you really want the blood test, you will have to request it specifically, though some testing facilities use a combination of oral swab and blood testing to get the most accurate results.

Either of these methods will not be accurate right after you have been infected. It takes time for your body to react to the virus and for that virus to show up in your body in any way whatsoever. There is typically a three-week window in place before testing is done. That means that three weeks after you have been infected, the testing facility should be able to perform a test that will tell with a high degree of certainty if you are infected with HIV.

However, you should also be tested again in three months after the initial infection. This will ensure a 99.9% accuracy reading for the testing. The discrepancy between the two windows and the idea of needing a window at all are due to the way that people’s bodies react differently to viruses. Not everyone has fast-moving antibodies, and sometimes it takes weeks or months for the virus to show up at all.

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