Frequently Asked Questions FAQs

 

From testing to diagnosis to treatment and prevention, the questions people ask most often about HIV and OraQuick are answered here. You can browse by topic or search the questions. When it comes to HIV, knowing your status is important.

What is OraQuick?

OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test

Is the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test a qualitative or quantitative testing device?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is a qualitative test that is designed to be visually read and test for the presence of antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2. It can provide results such as:
* preliminary positive,
* negative, or
* test not working (invalid).

 

The test is not quantitative in nature. So, the intensity of the lines on the test stick does not correlate with the stage of the disease or infection potential.

OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test

What is the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV test is a private, and accurate way to test for HIV in your own home. It is the same test preferred by many public health professionals.

 

The OraQuick test uses oral fluid to check for HIV-1 and HIV-2. It can give you results in about 20 minutes, and if you follow the instructions carefully the OraQuick oral fluid test can detect 91.7 percent of people who are infected with HIV, and 99.9 percent of people who are not infected with HIV. Because the test is a "screening" test, it is always advised to have a second test to confirm your results.

 

The OraQuick test should only be used to test for HIV, and should not be used for other purposes. If you need to be tested for pregnancy or for a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or other infection, please contact your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she can help you get tested.

OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test

Is the OraQuick rapid test a saliva test?

The OraQuick oral fluid rapid HIV test is not a saliva test. It uses oral fluid, which is slightly different from saliva.

Oral fluid, collected from the gumline, contains antibodies. Antibodies are proteins produced by the body's immune (defense) system to fight infection. If there are antibodies to HIV, it indicates that the person has been infected with HIV.

OraQuick: In-Home HIV Test

How accurate is HIV testing using oral fluid?

Oral fluid HIV tests are very accurate. In studies, the OraQuick oral fluid test detected 91.7 percent of people who were infected with HIV, and 99.9 percent of people who were not infected with HIV.

If you have more questions about oral fluid HIV tests, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she can help you figure out the best test for you.

How Oral Testing Works

How does an HIV antibody test work?

An HIV antibody test detects the cells that the body's immune (defense) system creates in response to HIV infection. When HIV enters the body, the body starts to produce antibodies. In the case of HIV, the antibodies can't fight off the infection. But, their presence can be used to tell whether a person has HIV in his or her body. Most HIV tests detect the presence of HIV antibodies, not the virus itself.

How Oral Testing Works

How much faster are rapid HIV tests than standard HIV tests?

A rapid HIV test can produce accurate results in about 20 minutes. Standard screening tests can take up to 2 weeks.

How Oral Testing Works

What are the advantages of rapid tests for HIV using oral fluids?

Rapid HIV tests that use oral fluid are safe and accurate, and they provide quick results. They're a good option for people who don't like to have blood drawn or their finger pricked. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test also provides benefits such as convenience and privacy.

 

Rapid HIV tests that use oral fluid are safer for healthcare workers. The risk of exposure to infectious diseases is much lower from oral fluid than from blood. Contact with saliva has never been proven to result in the transmission (spread) of HIV.

Taking the Test

Importance of Testing

What is the difference between anonymous and confidential HIV testing?

Anonymous testing means that nothing ties your test results to you. When you take an anonymous HIV test, such as the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test, it is your choice whether to share the results or not. Not all HIV test sites offer anonymous testing.

 

Confidential HIV testing means that you provide your name when you are tested. Your name and other identifying information are attached to your test results, and the test results will go in your medical record. They may be shared with people who have access to your medical record, such as your doctors and your insurance company. Otherwise, the results are protected by state and Federal privacy laws, which prevent your test results from being released without your permission.

Importance of Testing

Under what circumstances should a person be tested for HIV?

How often you get an HIV test depends on your circumstances. If you have never been tested for HIV, you should be tested. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend being tested at least once a year if you do things that can transmit (spread) HIV infection.

 

These include:
* Injecting drugs or steroids with used injection equipment;
* Having sex for money or drugs;
* Having sex with an HIV infected person;
* Having more than 1 sex partner since your last HIV test; or
* Having a sex partner who has had other sex partners since your last HIV test.

 

If you've been tested for HIV and your result is negative, but you continue to do things that put you at risk you should get tested again in 3 months.

 

You're more likely to be infected with HIV if you;
* Have ever shared injection drug needles and syringes or "works";
* Have ever had sex without a condom with someone who has HIV;
* Have ever had a sexually transmitted disease (STD), such as chlamydia or gonorrhea;
* Received a blood transfusion or blood clotting factor between 1978 and 1985; or
* Have ever had sex with someone who has done any of these things.

Importance of Testing

What are the different types of HIV tests that I might get at a doctor's office or clinic?

The most commonly used HIV antibody test is an enzyme immunoassay, or EIA. This type of test uses blood drawn from a vein to detect antibodies to HIV. Antibodies are chemicals produced by the body's immune (defense) system to fight infection. Some EIA tests use oral fluid or urine to detect HIV antibodies. If there are antibodies to HIV, it indicates that the person has HIV in his or her body.

 

Rapid HIV tests produce results in about 20 minutes. These tests are just as accurate as other antibody tests. They use blood from a vein or finger stick, or oral fluid to look for HIV.

 

All positive HIV test results must be confirmed with a follow-up test, such as the Western blot. The Western blot is a more specific test. It can tell the difference between HIV antibodies and other antibodies that might cause false positive results.

 

Another type of test is an RNA test. The RNA test detects the HIV virus directly. These tests can be used in screening the blood supply, and to find early infections (before antibodies can be detected).

 

Your doctor can help you figure out which type of test is best for you..

Importance of Testing

How soon should I get tested if I think I have been exposed to HIV?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test can give you accurate results 3 months from exposure. Most people will develop antibodies to HIV within this period of time.

 

If you test within 3 months of possible exposure and the result is negative, you may want to repeat the test at least 3 months after the possible exposure.

 

Ninety-seven (97) percent of people develop antibodies within the first 3 months after infection. In rare cases, it can take up to 6 months.

 

If there is a need to test sooner, we can refer you to a healthcare professional in your area.

Importance of Testing

Should pregnant women get tested for HIV?

It is important that pregnant women get tested for HIV so that HIV is not passed on to their babies. Currently, pregnant women can test with OraQuick In-Home HIV test, or see their healthcare providers for options and to get tested.

Before You Begin

I opened my test kit and there was no fluid in the test tube. What should I do?

If there was no fluid in the test tube when you opened the kit, the kit is defective. We apologize for this inconvenience.  Please discard the test kit.

 

Please dispose of the test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please begin the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Before You Begin

What should I do if I (or my child, friend, or partner) accidentally drank the testing fluid from the test tube?

The ingredients in the test fluid are not toxic and pose no known health risk in the amount provided in the vial. If you or someone you know has swallowed some of the liquid and you are concerned, please contact your doctor.

 

If you would like additional information on the ingredients of the test fluid, please view the safety information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test website www.oraquick.com.

 

If you were unable to complete the test, please obtain a new test kit.

Before You Begin

What happens if my pet accidentally drank the testing fluid from the test tube What should I do?

The ingredients in the test fluid are not toxic in the amount provided in the vial, and pose no known health risk. If your pet swallowed the liquid in the vial and you are concerned, please contact your veterinarian.

 

If you would like additional information on the ingredients of the test fluid, please view the safety information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test website, www.oraquick.com.

 

If you were unable to complete the test, please obtain a new test kit.

Before You Begin

I'm pregnant and/or breastfeeding. Can I use the test?

It is safe to use the OraQuick In-Home HIV test if you are pregnant and/or breastfeeding

Before You Begin

Can I use the OraQuick In-Home HIV test on my child?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV test is intended for use by individuals' ages 17 and older. It is not for use in children under 17 years of age. If your child is younger than 17 years of age, and you are concerned that your child has HIV, talk with your child's doctor. He or she can help determine if your child is infected.

Before You Begin

I already know I have HIV. Should I use this test to confirm my HIV status?

Do not use the OraQuick In-Home HIV test if you already know that you have tested positive for HIV.

 

Please talk with your doctor to develop a treatment plan that is right for you. If you don't have a doctor, we can provide you with available resources in your area.

Before You Begin

I am visually impaired. Are the instructions to the OraQuick In-Home HIV test available in Braille or in an audio format?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV test is a visually read test. If you are unable to perform and interpret the test yourself, you should visit your doctor or clinic to get tested.

Before You Begin

What is the best way to store the test kit until I am ready to use it?

Your test kit should be stored at a temperature from 36 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit, or 2 to 27 degrees Celsius. The test kit should be stored in a dry place, avoiding direct sunlight and any excessively hot or cold conditions

Before You Begin

I ate/drank (brushed my teeth, gargled, put something in my mouth) before I swabbed my gums. Will my results be valid?

If you ate or drank anything MORE than (longer than) 30 minutes before you swabbed your gums, and if you correctly followed all the directions in the test instructions booklet, the results of your test will be accurate.

 

If you ate or drank anything LESS than 30 minutes before you swabbed your gums, you CANNOT rely on the test result  and will need to repeat the test procedure with a new kit being careful to follow all handling and testing instructions carefully. Please read the instructions before you being to be sure that you understand how and when to take your sample. If you have any questions about how to administer the test, please don't hesitate to call us back prior to beginning.

 

If second test is needed:
Remember to dispose of your current test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You may dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. The sealable bag is provided to protect your privacy.

Before You Begin

My test was stored in a hot car for a period of time. Is it still okay to use it?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV test should be stored at a temperature of 36 degrees to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. If the test was stored for any extended period of time (3 hours or more) in an excessively hot (80 degrees Fahrenheit and above) or cold (36 degrees Fahrenheit or below) environment, the OraQuick In-Home HIV test should not be used.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage, no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Before You Begin

Can I still use my test kit if the expiration date on the box has passed?

You should not use a test kit if the current date is past the expiration date printed on the outside of the test kit box. Results from this test would not be considered an accurate indication of your HIV status.

 

Please get a new test kit and perform the test with the new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Before You Begin

How do I open and close the test kit or the test kit drawer?

Before you open the test kit, make sure that the word "OraQuick" is right side up and facing you.

 

The drawer where the test components are located will only open and close when the test kit lid is open.

Before You Begin

Should I still take the OraQuick test if my test kit was damaged, tampered with, or is missing materials?

If any of the materials in the OraQuick test kit are missing, damaged, or have evidence of being tampered with (for example, if any of the packets are open or damaged), you should not use the kit. Results from this test would not be considered an accurate indication of your HIV status. Please discard the test kit.

 

Please dispose of the test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.  We apologize for this inconvenience.

 

Please begin the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

What should I do with the test materials after I've taken the test?

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. Leave the test stick in the test tube and dispose of the entire package. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Taking the Test

I mistakenly/accidentally removed the stick (or it fell out) from the vial early (before 20 minutes). Will my result be valid?

If you removed the test stick, or it fell out, at any point after you placed it in the test tube, the result of the test is not valid even if you immediately replaced the test stick. The test stick must remain in the test tube for at least 20 minutes as shown in the instructions. Therefore, do not consider your result an accurate indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions, including the diagrams, that are included in your testing material.

Taking the Test

I left the test stick in the vial longer than 40 minutes. Will the results be accurate?

If you read the test more than 40 minutes after the test stick was placed in the vial, the result of the test is not valid. Do not consider the result an indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place test stick in the test tube for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test. 

Taking the Test

What should I do if the fluid in the test tube is leaking?

You must have liquid in the vial to run the test and get an accurate result. If there is liquid, you may continue following the directions carefully. If you would like, we can also guide you step-by-step through the instructions and test process.

 

When you run the test, you can tell it is working if a line appears next to the letter "C" on the test stick.

 

If you see a line, your test results will be valid. If you do not see a line, the test is not working properly.  If you do not see a line next to the letter "C," do not consider the result a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the opened test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

How do I use the test?

The directions to use the test can be found in the main compartment of the test box. They are written in both English and Spanish. The directions are in a booklet form and have the words Testing Directions written on the top page.

 

If you are having difficulty reading or understanding the test instructions, or if you are having difficulty taking the test, you can ask a friend or family member to help you. Or, if you would like, we can also guide you step-by-step through the instructions and test process.

Taking the Test

Can the same OraQuick In-Home HIV Test be used more than once?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV test kit is intended to be used only once.

 

If you used or tampered with the test stick or test tube before starting your test, or if you used the test parts to take more than one test, your test results will not be accurate.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Taking the Test

Can I still use the test if I got blood or other body fluids on the test stick?

If you got a small amount of blood on the test stick from swabbing your gums, your result will still be accurate. Blood is not considered a foreign substance. Small amounts of blood will not interfere with the test performance or prevent you from obtaining an accurate test result.

 

However, if you used blood or any other body fluid (such as urine or semen) as a sample in place of oral fluid, you should not rely on this test for an accurate result of your HIV status.

 

When you run the test, you can tell it is working if you see a line next to the letter "C" on the test stick. If you see a line, your test results will be accurate. If you do not see a line next to the letter "C," the test is not working properly and you will need to get a new test.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Taking the Test

Will my test results be valid if I got a foreign substance on the test stick (food, water, other) or dropped it on the floor, sink, or other surface?

If any substance other than the samples from swiping your gums touches any of the test stick pad or test tube fluid as you are taking the test, your results will not be valid.

 

Substances that will render the result unreliable include: food, water and other liquids including alcoholic beverages, lipstick, Chapstick, and lip gloss.

 

If you accidentally dropped the test stick and it touched the sink, toilet, floor, table, countertop, or anything other than your gums, you should not rely on the test result.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Taking the Test

I'm preparing to take the OraQuick test and I'm not sure how to swab my gums correctly. Do I need to swab both sides of my gums or only one side?

When you take the OraQuick test, you must swab both the left and right side of your upper gums and the left and right side of your lower gums. Each gum must be swabbed only once. You must follow the test directions carefully to get an accurate result. If you are not sure you swabbed your gums correctly, check for a line next to the letter "C" on the test stick. If a line appears next to the letter "C" on the test stick, you will know your test is working and your results will be accurate. This will occur if you have followed the instructions carefully and you have waited at least 20 minutes after placing the test stick in the test tube. If you do not see a line next to the letter "C," the test is not working properly and you will need to get a new test.

Taking the Test

I'm not sure I swabbed my gums correctly. Will my test results be valid?

If you are not sure whether you swabbed your gums correctly, check for a line next to the letter "C" on the test stick.

 

If a line appears next to the letter "C" on the test stick, you will know your test is working and your results will be accurate. This will occur if you have followed the instructions carefully and you have waited at least 20 minutes after placing the test stick in the test tube.

 

If you do not see a line next to the letter "C," the test is not working properly and you will need to get a new test.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Taking the Test

I forgot to swab, or I accidentally placed the test stick into the test tube liquid before I swabbed my gums. Will my test results be valid?

If the test stick came in contact with the test tube liquid at any time before you swabbed your gums, the test results will not be accurate. Therefore, do not consider your results as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage, no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

I wear braces (or a retainer). Can I still use the OraQuick In-Home HIV test?

It is safe to use the OraQuick In-Home HIV test if you wear braces or a retainer.

Taking the Test

I swabbed my gums, but did not immediately put the test stick into test tube. Will my results be accurate?

Once you swab your gums with the test stick, you have 30 minutes to place the test stick in the test tube. If you do this, and follow all the directions, your results should be accurate.

 

If you wait more than 30 minutes after you swab your gums to place the test stick in the test tube, the test results will not be accurate. Therefore, do not consider your results as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

What should I do if the fluid from the test tube spilled?

You must have liquid in the vial to run the test and get an accurate result. If there is liquid, you may continue following the directions carefully. If you would like, we can also guide you step-by-step through the instructions and test process.

 

When you run the test, you can tell it is working if a line appears next to the letter "C" on the test stick. If you see a line, your test results will be valid. If you do not see a line, the test is not working properly. In order for a test to work, a line MUST appear by the area marked "C." Therefore, do not consider the result you got as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

What do the letters "C" and "T" on the test stick mean?

The letter "C" on the test stick stands for "control." A line should appear next to the letter "C" if you have followed the instructions carefully and have waited 20 minutes after placing your test stick in the test tube. This line means that your test is working. If NO line appears next to the letter "C," it means your test is not working and you will need to get a new test.

The letter "T" on the test stick stands for "test." A line next to the letter "T," even if the line is faint, and a line next to the letter "C", means that you have a positive test result and you may have HIV. You will need a second test to confirm your test result. A "T' line, even if the line is faint, and no "C" line means the test is not working and you will need to get a new test.

If you have a preliminary positive result, you will need a second test to confirm your test result. Please visit your doctor or local clinic to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test result.

Taking the Test

What should I do if I got some of the liquid from the test tube on my fingers?

You must have liquid in the vial to run the test and get an accurate result. If there is liquid, you may continue following the directions carefully. If you would like, we can also guide you step-by-step through the instructions and test process.

 

You can tell the test is working if a line appears next to the letter "C" on the test stick. If you see a line, your test results will be valid. If you do not see a line, the test is not working properly.  In order for a test to work, a line MUST appear by the area marked "C." Therefore, do not consider the result you got as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

I did not use the test box to hold the device during run time. Is this okay?

In order for your test results to be accurate, you must follow all of the instructions carefully. As shown in Step 2 of the instruction booklet, you must first put the test tube in the area labeled "Test Tube Holder" on the upper portion of the test kit. Then, as shown in Step 5 of the instruction booklet, you should place the test stick in the test tube.

 

If you did not follow these instructions (that is, you did NOT use the test tube holder), your test results may not be accurate. Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Taking the Test

What should I do if I (or my child, friend, or partner) accidentally ate the test stick device?

The ingredients in the test stick are not toxic and pose no known health risk in the amounts provided. If you or someone you know has eaten the test stick device and you are concerned, please contact your doctor.

 

If you would like additional information on the ingredients of the testing device, please view the safety information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test website www.oraquick.com.

Taking the Test

What should I do if I got fluid from the test tube in my eye?

The ingredients in the test fluid are not toxic. If you got fluid from the test tube in your eye, flush your eye with water immediately.

 

If you would like additional information on the ingredients of the test fluid, please view the safety information on the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test website www.oraquick.com.

Taking the Test

I experienced an ill effect during or after taking the test. What should I do?

If you need immediate first aid or medical assistance, contact your doctor or visit the emergency room.

Taking the Test

Where can I find the lot number for my test kit?

The lot number of your test kit can be found in 3 places:


* On the bottom of the outer box, next to the words "Lot/Lote";
* On the test tube package, next to the words "Lot/Lote"; and
* On the test stick package, next to the words "Lot/Lote.

Taking the Test

I opened the test stick pouch but I am not ready to use it yet. What should I do?

Once you open the test stick pouch, you will need to perform the test within 30 minutes. Please leave the test stick in the pouch until you are ready to perform the test.

Taking the Test

I have just taken the test. Do I need to document the results?

In the pull-out drawer of your test kit, there is a booklet entitled What your results mean to You! On page 10 of this booklet, there is a section entitled "Take along to your Doctor and Health Clinic," and on page 11 there are two areas where you can write notes or questions and resources. You might choose to use these areas to document your results.

Taking the Test

There is a small pouch of absorbent material inside the package that contains the test stick. Should I do anything with it?

The small pouch inside the test stick package is designed to prevent moisture from affecting the test stick during storage. It is not to be used when performing the OraQuick test, and you may discard it in the regular trash.

Taking the Test

Will the liquid in the test tube spill if I close the lid with the test tube in it?

If you close the lid with the test tube in it, there is a chance that the liquid in the test tube will spill.

 

To avoid any risk of spillage, after you have completed the test you can gently remove the test stick and the test tube from the test stand. Put the cap back on the test tube. Then, put all the contents of the test kit into the white bag located in the lower drawer and throw it away.

 

If you spill some liquid, you should not worry; this liquid is not toxic. If you got some on your fingers, wash your hands with soap and water.

Taking the Test

Will antibiotics (or other non-HIV-related medications) influence my test result?

To date, there is no evidence that the use of antibiotics or medication (other than antiretrovirals) may affect the test results. Please proceed with performing the test as instructed..

Taking the Test

If I wear dentures that cover my gums, can I still take the test?

If you have dentures that cover your gums, there are steps you should take prior to testing. You should:


1. Remove the dentures.
2. Wash any remaining paste off of the gums.
3. Wait 30 minutes.
4. Perform the test according to the instructions.

Understanding Your Results

When I read my test result, there were no markings or colorings on the test stick at all. What does this mean?

If the test stick did not have any lines on it when you read your test result, then your test did not work. Therefore, do not consider the result you got as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Understanding Your Results

My test does not have a line at "C" but has a line at "T." What does this mean?

If your test has a line next to the letter "T," but no line next to the letter "C," this means that your test did not work.  In order for a test to work, a line MUST appear by the area marked "C." Therefore, do not consider the result you got as a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

Understanding Your Results

How do I know if the test is working?

You will know the test is working if you see a line next to the letter "C" on the test stick. This will occur if you have followed the instructions carefully and you have waited at least 20 minutes after placing the test stick in the test tube.

 

If there is NO line by the letter "C" on the test stick, the test is defective.  Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage  no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

If your test is did not work properly or you remain unsure, please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Understanding Your Results

Can you interpret my test results?

Once your results are ready, you must read your results between 20 and 40 minutes from the start time you wrote down (see Step 5 of the instruction booklet). This is called your "read time."

 

During your "read time" turn to Step 7b of the test instructions booklet. Look at the pictures labeled "Negative Test Result" and "Positive Result." Compare these pictures to your test stick.

Understanding Your Results

What would cause false negatives on an HIV test?

A false negative is when an HIV test result indicates that a person is not infected with HIV when they actually are. This can occur if:


* The person tested too soon after exposure to HIV;
* The levels of antibodies (infection-fighting cells) in his or her body are too low to detect;
* The person is on antiretroviral therapy (taking drugs that fight HIV); or
* The person tested less than 30 minutes after eating or drinking.

Understanding Your Results

How will I know if the test is NOT working?

You will know that your test is NOT working if the results on your test stick do not look like any of the example results found in the "Reading Your Results" section (Step 7b) of the test instructions booklet.

 

Your test is considered invalid if:


* There is NO line next to the letter "C" on the test stick;
* There are NO LINES anywhere on the test stick; or
* Your test stick remains pink after 20 minutes.

 

If your test did not work properly, or you remain unsure, please get a new test.  If you do not see a line next to the letter "C," do not consider the result a valid indication of your HIV status.

 

Please dispose of the opened test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage; no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

 

Please repeat the OraQuick testing procedure with a new test kit and carefully follow all the handling and testing instructions. Please read the instructions before you begin the test and be sure that you understand how to take your sample, place it in the vial for no less than 20 minutes and no more than 40 minutes before you read the test.

Understanding Your Results

My OraQuick In-Home HIV test results were negative. Now what should I do?

If the result on your OraQuick In-Home HIV test is negative, you should be aware that an initial negative does not mean that you absolutely do not have HIV. You could be in what is called the "window period." The window period is when a person has been infected with HIV, but HIV tests cannot yet detect the infection. This is because it can take up to 3 months for a person's body to make enough antibodies (infection-fighting cells) to trigger a positive test result. So, if you engage in risky behavior, it is always a good idea to test regularly.

 

Be sure to read the booklet What your test results mean to You!, which is included with your test kit. Also, be sure to avoid behaviors that put you at risk for getting HIV. HIV is transmitted (spread) from person to person during activities where contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids occur. By using a latex condom correctly every time you have sex, not using illegal injection drugs, and encouraging others to do the same, you will help stop the spread of HIV.

Understanding Your Results

What could cause false positives on an HIV test?

A false positive is when an HIV test shows that a person has HIV when they don't actually have it.

 

Conditions that can lead to a false positive HIV test are:


* Lyme disease,
* syphilis (SIF-uh-lus),
* lupus, and
* other conditions.

 

A positive HIV antibody test is always followed by a second confirmation test, usually the Western blot test. This second test usually confirms the presence or absence of HIV infection.

Understanding Your Results

I got a positive result on my test. What should I do?

If you got a positive test result, you will need a second test to confirm your test result. Please see your doctor or a local clinic to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test result.

Also, read the booklet What your results mean to You! that came with your OraQuick In-Home HIV Test. This booklet provides good information about what to do first, and information about taking care of your health.

It is important to avoid any activity that could expose someone else to your blood or body fluids until you know your HIV status for sure. HIV is transmitted (spread) from person to person during activities where contact with infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids occur. By using a latex condom correctly every time you have sex, not using illegal injection drugs, and encouraging others to do the same, you will help stop the spread of HIV. Using condoms can also help you avoid becoming infected with another sexually transmitted disease that may cause you additional health problems in the future.

Understanding Your Results

My test has a line at the "C" and a very dark red line at "T." Why is this line so dark? What does it mean?

If your test result shows a line next to the letter "C" and any line next to the letter "T," you have a positive test result. This result indicates that there is a possibility that you could be infected with HIV. However, the intensity of the lines on the test stick does not correlate with the stage of the HIV disease or infection potential. So, a darker line next to the letter "T" does not mean that you are more positive. You will need a second test to confirm your test result. Your oral fluid results need to be confirmed with results obtained by serum (blood) testing with FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved tests. Please see your physician or a healthcare provider to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test result. Until your test result is confirmed, please take precautions to avoid any chance of spreading HIV. In particular, you should avoid all sexual activities until you know your HIV status.

Understanding Your Results

My test has a line at "C" and a very faint line at "T." What does this mean?

Any line next to the letter "T" on the test stick, regardless of color or shade, means you have a positive test result. You will need a second test to confirm your test result. Please see your physician or a healthcare provider to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test result. Until your test result is confirmed, please take precautions to avoid any chance of spreading HIV. In particular, you should avoid all sexual activities until you know your HIV status.

Understanding Your Results

My test result was a positive. Can someone get HIV by touching, licking, or other contact with the saliva on the test stick, or the test tube/liquid?

Scientists and medical experts agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body. This means that the risk of environmental transmission (spread) is remote. Therefore, if someone came into direct contact with your test stick, there is extremely little risk of transmitting HIV to them. Contact with saliva has never been shown to result in transmission of HIV. Because your test result is positive you will need a second test to confirm your HIV status. Please see your physician or a healthcare provider to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test. Until your result is confirmed, be sure to take precautions to avoid any chance of spreading HIV. In particular, you should avoid all sexual activities until you know your HIV status. Please dispose of the used test by closing the package and placing it in the disposal bag that is provided in the lower compartment of the test kit. You can dispose of the bag with your regular garbage no extra precautions are necessary. This bag will help protect your privacy so you can throw it away in any trash can.

About HIV

HIV Basics

What is the difference between exposure to HIV and infection with HIV?

Exposure to HIV means that a person has had contact with infected material, such as blood, in such a way as to be placed at risk.

 

Infection means that the virus entered the body and is living there. Many people who are infected with HIV don't have symptoms for many years. Someone can look and feel healthy but can still be infected. Once a person is infected, he or she can pass the virus to others.

 

You can be exposed to HIV without becoming infected. There have been instances when a person became infected as a result of contacting blood or bodily secretions from an HIV positive person.

HIV Basics

Is there a cure or vaccine for HIV or AIDS?

There is no vaccine to prevent HIV infection, nor is there a cure for AIDS. But, there are medications that can help many people infected with HIV live with the disease and dramatically prolong their lives. It's important that people get tested for HIV and know that they're infected early in order for medical care and treatment to have the greatest effect.

HIV Basics

What is the difference between CD4 and T cells?

T cells are a type of white blood cell that fights illness. They are called "T" cells because they mature in the thymus gland, an important gland that stimulates the immune system.

 

T cells are the immune (body defense) system's "border police." They're responsible for finding infected or cancerous cells.

 

T cells include CD4 and CD8 cells. CD4 cells are known as the "T-helper cells." They coordinate the immune response to invaders. CD4 cells signal other cells in the immune system to perform their special functions. The number of CD4 cells in a sample of blood is an indicator of the health of the immune system. HIV infects and kills CD4 cells. This is what leads to a weakened immune system in people infected with HIV.

 

If you have been diagnosed with HIV a CD4/CD8 ratio is used to help determine the progression of HIV infection and disease. They say how strong your immune system is.

HIV Basics

What is viral load testing for HIV?

The HIV viral load test is a blood test. Blood is obtained from a vein in your arm. It measures the amount of HIV in your blood. The viral load gives information about the number of blood cells infected with HIV. It is used to monitor the risk of someone with HIV developing AIDS and provides a guide for your HIV therapy.

 

If you have questions about treatment for HIV, talk to your doctor. He or she can help figure out the best treatment for you. It's best if you see a doctor who has experience treating people with HIV.

HIV Basics

I have discovered a "cure" for HIV/AIDS. Who can I talk to?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH), specifically the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), is the Public Health Service agency responsible for research on therapies for HIV. You can contact them through the following address:

 

NIAID Office of Communications and Government Relations
6610 Rockledge Drive, MSC 6612
Bethesda, MD 20892-6612
ocpostoffice@niaid.nih.gov

HIV Basics

What is HIV?

HIV is the "human immunodeficiency virus." It's the virus that can lead to acquired immune deficiency syndrome, or AIDS. The virus damages your immune (body defense) system by killing the cells that help you fight off infection and disease.

 

HIV can be spread from 1 person to another if someone with HIV infection has sex or shares drug needles with another person. HIV is spread when infected body fluids come in contact with broken skin or mucous membranes. Mucous membranes are the wet, thin tissues found inside the
* mouth,
* eyes,
* nose,
* vagina,
* rectum, and
* opening of the penis.

 

HIV can also be spread by an infected pregnant woman to her baby. This can happen during pregnancy or delivery, as well as through breastfeeding.

HIV Basics

What is AIDS?

AIDS stands for "acquired immunodeficiency syndrome." It's the late stage of HIV infection, when a person's immune (body's defense) system is badly damaged and has difficulty fighting diseases and certain cancers. The symptoms that indicate someone has AIDS include:

 

* Opportunistic infections, such as:
- thrush (fungal infection in the mouth),
- herpes zoster (shingles), or
- pneumonia (a lung infection);
* Some cancers, such as Kaposi's sarcoma (KS); and
* A decrease in the number of certain types of blood cells that help to keep us healthy called CD4 T cells.

 

A diagnosis of AIDS is made by a doctor or healthcare provider when:
* Your CD4 cell count goes under 200; or
* You have HIV and certain other diseases

HIV Basics

What are signs and symptoms of HIV?

Many people who are infected with HIV do not have any symptoms at all for many years. The only way to know if you are infected with HIV is to be tested. You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether or not you are infected.

 

If symptoms do occur, the following may be warning signs of infection with HIV:
* Rapid weight loss;
* Dry cough;
* Night sweats or fever that keeps coming back;
* Feeling very tired for no reason;
* Swollen lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck;
* Diarrhea that lasts for more than a week;
* White spots on the tongue, in the mouth, or in the throat;
* Pneumonia (lung infection);
* Red, brown, pink, or purplish spots on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids; and
* Memory loss, depression, and other neurological (brain and spine) problems.

If you have any of these symptoms, don't assume that you're infected with HIV. Each of these symptoms can be related to other illnesses.

 

If you are concerned about the possibility of being infected with HIV, talk to your doctor. He or she could help you figure out if you are infected.

HIV Basics

How can I tell if I am infected with HIV?

The only way to know if you have HIV is to be tested. You can't rely on symptoms to know whether or not you're infected. Many people who have HIV don't have any symptoms at all for many years.

 

If you're worried that you might have HIV, talk to your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she can help you find out if you're infected.

HIV Basics

What are the signs of going from HIV to having AIDS?

You cannot rely on symptoms to know whether a person has AIDS. AIDS is a medical diagnosis made by a doctor based on specific criteria set by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

 

The AIDS case definition set by the CDC includes all HIV-positive people who have any of the following conditions:
* CD4 cell count at or below 200/mm3 (per cubic millimeter) of blood;
* Pulmonary tuberculosis;
* Recurrent (comes back again and again) pneumonia (lung infection); or
* Invasive cervical (SUR-vi-kuhl) cancer in women. Invasive cervical cancer is cancer that has moved to areas of a woman's body outside of her womb.

HIV Basics

What is the evidence that HIV causes AIDS?

After more than 28 years of scientific research, it was concluded that most people who become infected with HIV will eventually develop AIDS.

 

Before the discovery of HIV, evidence from epidemiologic studies had clearly indicated that the underlying cause of AIDS was an infectious (easily spread) agent. Infection with HIV has been the only common factor shared by AIDS cases throughout the world among:
* Men who have sex with men;
* People who have received blood transfusions;
* People with hemophilia (a blood clotting disorder);
* Sex partners of infected people;
* Children born to infected women; and
* Health care workers exposed to the virus at work.

HIV Basics

How does HIV cause AIDS?

When HIV enters your body, it infects your CD4 cells and kills them. CD4 cells (sometimes called T-helper cells) help your body fight off infection and disease. Usually, CD4 cell counts in someone with a healthy immune (body defense) system range from 500 to 1800.

When CD4 cells are lost, your immune system breaks down and you can't fight infections and diseases as well.

AIDS is diagnosed when the CD4 cell count goes under 200. AIDS can also be diagnosed in people with a CD4 cell count over 200 who have HIV and certain diseases. These diseases include, such as:
* Tuberculosis (TB), and
* Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia (PCP).

HIV Basics

How does HIV affect the immune system?

HIV destroys a certain kind of blood cell called CD4 positive (CD4+) T cells. These cells are central to your immune (body defense) system and help your body fight off infection and disease. The loss of these cells in people with HIV is a strong predictor of the development of AIDS.

 

Sensitive tests have shown a strong connection between:
* The amount of HIV in the blood;
* The decline in CD4+ T cells; and
* The development of AIDS.

 

Reducing the amount of virus in the body with drugs can slow the destruction of a person's immune system and help to prevent infection and disease.

HIV Basics

How long does it take for HIV to cause AIDS?

Studies are underway to better determine the time it takes for HIV to result in an AIDS diagnosis. Before 1996, scientists thought that about half the people with HIV would develop AIDS within 10 years of getting infected. This time varied greatly from person to person. It depended on many factors, such as the person's health status and health-related behaviors.

 

Since then, the development and availability of strong drugs to treat HIV have greatly changed the time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. There are also other treatments that can prevent or cure some of the illnesses associated with AIDS. But, these treatments don't cure AIDS itself.

HIV Basics

What are the groups/types of HIV?

There are 3 different groups of HIV. These groups are also called "subtypes." They refer to forms of HIV that have different structures.

 

There are 3 groups of HIV-1:
* Group M, for Major;
* Group O, for Other; and
* Group N, for New.

 

Group M is further divided into subtypes A through K. Group M, subtype B causes 99 percent of the HIV-1 cases in the U.S. Group M subtypes are also known as genotypes or clades.

 

Group O includes a small number of HIV types. They were found in western and central Africa. They are very rare in the U.S. and haven't been sub-typed yet.

 

All HIV tests must be able to detect both Group M and Group O types of HIV to be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

 

Group N was found in Cameroon, a country in western/central Africa, in 1998. It's the rarest of the 3 groups of HIV. It's very unlikely to be found in the U.S.

 

HIV-2 is a second retrovirus that causes AIDS. It was first discovered among people in West Africa in 1986.

HIV Basics

What is HIV-2?

HIV-2, like HIV-1, is a virus that causes AIDS.

 

HIV-1 and HIV-2 are both associated with similar opportunistic infections and with AIDS. Both are transmitted in the same way. In people infected with HIV-2, weakening of the immune (body defense) system seems to happen more slowly and is milder. Also, those with HIV-2 seem to be less infectious (able to spread disease) early in the course of infection than those with HIV-1. As the disease advances, HIV-2 seems to become more infectious. But, compared with HIV-1, the duration of this increased infectiousness is shorter.

 

HIV-1 and HIV-2 also differ depending on where you're located in the world. The U.S. has few reported cases of HIV-2. Africa has many.

HIV Basics

Who is at risk for HIV-2 infection?

People are at risk for HIV-2 infection if they:
* Had sex with a person from a country where HIV-2 is common;
* Had sex with a person known to be infected with HIV-2;
* Received blood or a non-sterile (not clean) injection (shot) in a country where HIV-2 is common; and/or
* Shared needles with a person from a country where HIV-2 is common, or with a person known to have HIV-2.

 

Children born to women who have HIV-2, or the risk factors mentioned for HIV-2, are also at risk for getting the virus. HIV-2 disease in children is rare. It seems that HIV-2 is not passed on from mother to child as easily as HIV-1.

HIV Basics

What is known about HIV-2 in the United States?

The first case of HIV-2 infection in the U.S. was diagnosed in 1987. Since then, the CDC has worked with state and local health departments to collect certain data on people with HIV-2 infection.

 

Of the 79 people infected with HIV-2 between 1987 and 1998, AIDS-defining conditions have developed in 17. Eight (8) have died. But, these case counts are only estimates.

HIV Basics

Is the clinical treatment of HIV-2 different from that of HIV-1?

Treatment of HIV-2 is different than treatment of HIV-1.

 

Not all of the drugs used to treat HIV-1 infection are as effective against HIV-2. Some don't work at all. It's not known whether the possible benefits of these drugs would outweigh the side effects of treatment.

 

Also, it is more difficult to monitor the treatment response of people infected with HIV-2 than people infected with HIV-1. No test has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to measure HIV-2 viral load.

 

The best timing for HIV-2 treatment remains under review by clinical experts. More research and clinical experience is needed to determine the most effective treatment for HIV-2.

HIV Basics

How well does HIV survive outside the body?

Scientists and medical authorities agree that HIV does not survive well outside the body. This means that the risk of environmental transmission (spreading) is very small.

 

HIV cannot reproduce outside the body, except in a lab setting. So, HIV does not spread or stay infectious (able to spread) outside of the body. The virus does not survive outside the body.

HIV Basics

Where did HIV come from?

In 1999, researchers reported that it first came from a type of chimpanzee found in western Africa. They believe that HIV-1 was spread to humans when hunters came into contact with infected blood.

HIV Basics

Is it true that there is a mutated version of HIV that is transmitted through the air?

It is not true that there is a mutated version of HIV that is transmitted through the air. The story that the CDC has discovered a mutated (altered) version on HIV that is spread through the air is false.

 

Many scientific studies have been done to look at all the possible ways that HIV is transmitted
(spread). These studies have not shown HIV to be transmitted through air, water, insects, or casual contact.

 

HIV is spread by anal, vaginal, or oral sexual contact with someone who is infected with HIV. It can also be spread by sharing needles or syringes with someone who is infected with HIV. Babies born to HIV-infected women may also become infected before or during birth or through breastfeeding.

HIV Basics

Is there a vaccine for HIV?

At this time, there is no vaccine that will prevent HIV infection or treat those who have it.

 

Researchers have been trying to find an HIV vaccine since the virus was first identified in 1984. But, so far, they haven't been successful. That's because HIV does not act like other viruses for which we have vaccines, like measles or chickenpox.

Risks & Prevention

Since I have HIV, should I be tested for tuberculosis?

All people with HIV should be tested for tuberculosis (TB). If the test shows that they have TB, they should get treatment right away to prevent TB disease.

 

If you're concerned about the possibility of being infected with TB, contact your doctor or healthcare provider. He or she will help you determine if you're infected.

Risks & Prevention

Are there guidelines for treating HIV-related opportunistic infections?

There are many treatment guidelines for people infected with HIV, including guidelines for the prevention and treatment of opportunistic infections. These guidelines can be viewed and downloaded from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

 

You may also wish to contact AIDSinfo. AIDSinfo is a service of United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) that offers the latest federally-approved information on HIV and AIDS:


* clinical research,
* treatment, and
* prevention.

Risks & Prevention

What is partner notification?

If you have a positive HIV test, you can notify your partners yourself, or you can contact your state public health department's Partner Counseling and Referral Service (PCRS). PCRS can help you notify your partners and help them get medical evaluation, treatment, counseling, and other services.

 

The partner notification process is confidential. This means your partners won't be told who reported their name or when the exposure occurred. Also, information about your partners won't be reported back to you. The process is also voluntary. This means that you can decide which names you want to reveal.

Risks & Prevention

Why is STD treatment/prevention important for HIV prevention?

Treating sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) in someone with HIV lowers the amount of HIV in that person's genital fluids. It also decreases how often HIV is found in those fluids.

 

If you have an STD, you're at least 2 to 5 times more likely than people without an STD to get infected with HIV after exposure to the virus through sex. Also, among HIV-positive people, someone with an STD is more likely to spread HIV than someone without an STD.

 

Testing for and treating STDs can be effective tools in preventing the spread of HIV, which is the virus that causes AIDS.

Risks & Prevention

What is an opportunistic infection?

Because HIV damages your immune (body defense) system, you may have a higher chance of infection by pathogens, such as bacteria or viruses, or by protozoa, such as a fungus. They are called opportunistic infections because an HIV-infected person's weakened immune system gives these diseases the opportunity to develop.

 

Treatment for HIV can delay the weakening of the immune system. People who are taking certain drugs can go a long time before their immune system is damaged enough to allow an opportunistic infection to occur. Many people do not know they have HIV until they develop AIDS and an opportunistic infection appears.

Risks & Prevention

What are some other diseases that a person infected with HIV is at risk of getting?

A person infected with HIV may have a higher chance of getting certain diseases they wouldn't get if they weren't infected. This is because HIV damages the immune (body defense) system. These other infections are called opportunistic infections.

 

The most common opportunistic infections for a person infected with HIV are:
* CMV (cytomegalovirus),
* TB (tuberculosis),
* Toxo (toxoplasmosis),
* Crypto (cryptosporidiosis),
* MAC (Mycobacterium avium complex),
* PCP (Pneumocystis carinii pneumonia),
* Hepatitis C, and
* HPV (human papillomavirus).

 

Common symptoms of opportunistic infections include:
* Breathing problems
* Mouth problems, such as thrush (white spots), sores, dryness, or loose teeth
* Fever
* Weight loss
* Change in vision
* Diarrhea

Risks & Prevention

What is Kaposi's sarcoma?

Kaposi's sarcoma, or KS, is a rare type of cancer that causes abnormal growth of blood vessels. It's extremely rare in people with normal immune (body defense) systems. KS is often associated with AIDS.

 

In people with AIDS, KS is caused by an interaction between:
* HIV;
* A weakened immune system; and
* Human herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8).

 

KS has been linked to the spread of HIV and HHV-8 through sexual activity.

 

If you think you have KS, you should talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Risks & Prevention

How can a person infected with HIV prevent Kaposi's sarcoma?

Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) can be passed on through fluids in the mouth, semen, or blood.
Avoid deep kissing, having sex, or sharing needles with people who have KS or who are HIV-infected, or any of the behaviors that can increase your risk of getting the virus that causes KS.

 

If you have HIV, you can reduce your chances of getting the virus that causes KS by:
* Using a latex condom every time you have sex; and
* Not sharing drug-injection equipment.

 

You should take these precautions even if your sex or needle-sharing partner is also HIV-positive.

 

If you're concerned about the possibility of getting KS, talk to your doctor. He or she can talk to you about the best ways to prevent it.

Risks & Prevention

What should a pregnant woman do if she is concerned that she's been infected with HIV?

Pregnant women can test with the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test in the privacy of their own homes.

 

If a woman is pregnant and is concerned that she has been infected with HIV, the best thing for her to do is talk to her doctor. Her prenatal care should include HIV counseling and testing. If she is infected with HIV, her doctor can also provide antiretroviral drugs (drugs that treat HIV). These drugs can improve the woman's own health. They can also reduce her risk of transmitting (spreading) HIV to her baby.

Risks & Prevention

How can a person infected with HIV prevent illnesses that may be caused by food or water?

A person with HIV can prevent foodborne or waterborne illness by preparing food and drinks the right way.

 

* Meat, poultry (such as chicken or turkey), and fish can make you sick if they are raw, undercooked, or spoiled. Cook all meat and poultry until they are no longer pink in the middle. If you use a meat thermometer, the temperature inside the meat or poultry should be over 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Fish should be cooked until it's flaky, not rubbery.

 

* Only eat eggs if they're well cooked. They should be solid, not runny. Do not eat foods that contain raw eggs, such as:
- hollandaise sauce,
- cookie dough,
- homemade mayonnaise, and
- Caesar salad dressing.

 

* Raw fruits and vegetables are safe to eat if you wash them carefully first. Eating raw alfalfa sprouts and tomatoes can cause illness, but washing them well can reduce your risk of illness.

 

* Do not drink water straight from lakes, rivers, streams, or springs.

 

* Wash your hands well with soap and water after touching raw meat, poultry, and fish. Wash them well before you touch any other food, or before touching your eyes or mouth.

 

* When shopping for food, be sure to check expiration dates. Also, be sure the packaging isn't damaged. Do not buy food that's been displayed in unsafe or unclean conditions.

 

* Read food labels. Be sure that all dairy products that you purchase have been pasteurized (heated to kill germs). Don't buy any food that contains raw or undercooked meat or eggs if it's meant to be eaten raw.

Risks & Prevention

If my partner and I are both positive, can we have sex without protection?

You should still use a condom when having sex, even if you and your partner both have HIV.

 

No one knows for sure if "additional" virus makes HIV disease worse in people with HIV. Also, there are other problems you could have if you're exposed to another person's HIV virus. A person may have a type of HIV that is resistant (does not respond) to a certain drug. If that person has sex with another HIV-positive person, the drug-resistant virus strain could be transmitted (spread). The sex partner could then also become resistant. Finding treatment for that strain of virus could be difficult.

 

Also, you could get another sexually transmitted disease (STD) from your partner, if your partner is having sex with other people. STDs can cause major health problems for a person living with HIV or AIDS.

Risks & Prevention

What is antiretroviral therapy?

Someone who has been exposed to HIV can take drugs to lower their chances of getting infected. This is called antiretroviral therapy for exposure to HIV. It is also called postexposure prophylaxis or PEP. PEP is the term used when referring to healthcare workers who have been exposed to HIV.

 

PEP can also be given to pregnant women to lower their chances of spreading HIV to their babies.

 

PEP works best if it's started within 1 to 2 hours after the exposure. It can be used within 72 hours for very high-risk exposures. Animal studies suggest that PEP is not likely to be effective when started more than 24 to 36 hours after exposure.

 

PEP may not prevent all HIV infections. But, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend a 2- or 3-drug combination of antiretroviral drugs to help prevent HIV after exposure to the virus.

Risks & Prevention

What should I do if I think I have been exposed to HIV?

If you think you may have been exposed to HIV within the last 72 hours, you can ask your doctor or healthcare provider about drugs you can take that may help prevent HIV.

 

If you think you've been exposed to HIV, you should also get an HIV test as soon as possible.

 

If your result is negative, you should test again 3 months after the exposure. If there is a need to find out sooner than 3 months after exposure, please consult a healthcare provider for additional testing options.

Risks & Prevention

How soon after infection with HIV is a person able to spread the infection to others?

A newly infected person could give HIV to his or her sex partner within a few hours to a few days after becoming infected.

 

If you are concerned that you may have been exposed to HIV, get tested as soon as possible. The only way to know if you've been infected is to have an HIV test.

 

While you're waiting to get tested and receive your results, it's important to abstain from (avoid) all sexual contact. If you're not able to do this, you should practice safer sex. This will lower the chance that you'll spread any infection you might have to others.

Risks & Prevention

Who should be tested for HIV-2?

HIV-2 is rare in the U.S., however the OraQuick In-Home test detects both HIV-1 and HIV-2.

Risks & Prevention

If a woman is infected with HIV, or has been exposed to HIV, is it safe for her to breastfeed?

CDC recommends that HIV-infected women in the U.S. do not breastfeed. HIV can be passed from mother to child through breast milk. By not breastfeeding, transmission (spread) of HIV to infants through breast milk can be avoided.

 

Also, if you have HIV and are taking drugs to treat HIV these can also be passed through breast milk. This is another reason why women who are taking drugs to treat HIV should not breastfeed.

 

If you're pregnant and are worried that you've been exposed to HIV, you should test with OraQuick In-Home HIV test or see your doctor and get tested as soon as possible.

Risks & Prevention

What should I do if I know someone who is knowingly infecting others with HIV?

If you're concerned that someone is knowingly, or unknowingly, spreading HIV or another sexually transmitted disease (STD) to others, please contact your local or state health department for advice. They will be aware of the most recent rules and policies that can address your concerns.

 

In general, privacy laws prevent giving out personal health information. These laws are designed to protect the privacy of all people in the U.S. If you'd like more information on the disclosure of protected health information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Risks & Prevention

What is the risk of HIV transmission in the workplace or business setting?

Most everyday work activities do not put you at risk for HIV. There is no danger in working with someone who is HIV-infected or who has AIDS.

 

The risk of healthcare workers coming into contact with HIV on the job is also very low if they follow the right steps to protect themselves, such as using:
* Protective practices, and
* Personal protective equipment (PPE)

 

Non-healthcare workers
There is no known risk of HIV transmission to coworkers, clients, or consumers from contact in industries like food service. All food-service workers should follow recommended standards and practices for:
* Good personal hygiene (cleanliness); and
* Keeping food and food preparation areas clean.

 

Salon workers should wear latex or vinyl gloves during contact with customers if they have open sores or broken skin on their hands. This is especially important if they have eczema  (allergic skin). Salon workers with fever blisters or cold sores around or on the face should avoid touching those areas.

 

Instruments that can penetrate the skin or become contaminated with blood should be sterilized or thrown away after 1 use. This includes:
* Ear-piercing devices;
* Needles used for electrolysis (hair removal), tattooing, and acupuncture; and
* Razors, cuticle scissors, and tweezers.

 

Healthcare workers
The main risk of HIV transmission (spread) for healthcare workers is through accidental injuries from needles and other sharp instruments that may be contaminated (tainted) with the virus. But, even this risk is small. Based on several studies, scientists estimate that the risk of infection from a needle stick is less than 1 percent.

 

Case investigations conducted between 1981 and 2006 identified 57 cases of healthcare workers in the U.S. who got HIV because they were exposed to it at work. In all of these cases, it was proven that it was the HIV exposure at work which caused the illness. Twenty-six of those healthcare workers developed AIDS.

 

There have also been 140 other healthcare workers who were exposed to HIV at work and who later got HIV. However, it's not known whether it was the exposure at work that caused the disease, or if the individual had another HIV exposure risk.

 

The most recent possible new case of HIV caused by an exposure at work was reported in 2000. No new, documented cases have been reported since then. But, several cases are still being investigated.

Risks & Prevention

Can I get HIV from getting a tattoo or through body piercing?

There is a risk of HIV transmission (spread) from a tattoo or body piercing. The virus can be spread if tools contaminated (tainted) with blood haven't been sterilized or disinfected. These processes involve heating or treating the tools with special cleaners to kill germs and prevent infection. HIV can also spread if the tools aren't used properly between clients.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that single-use tools for penetrating the skin be used only once and then thrown away. Reusable tools or devices that penetrate the skin and/or contact a client's blood should be thoroughly cleaned and sterilized between clients.

 

If you're thinking about getting a tattoo or body piercing, ask the staff doing the tattooing or piercing what steps they take to prevent the spread of HIV and other diseases. You may want to call your local health department to find out what disease prevention steps are regulated or inspected for these types of businesses.

Risks & Prevention

Are lesbians or other women who have sex with women at risk for HIV?

Female-to-female transmission (spread) of HIV appears to be rare, but, it has been reported. The well-documented risk of female-to-male transmission of HIV shows that vaginal secretions and menstrual blood may contain the virus. It also shows that when mucous membranes, the soft, moist areas just inside the body's openings, are exposed to these secretions, it has the potential to lead to HIV infection.

Risks & Prevention

What is recommended as post-exposure treatment for non-healthcare workers?

A course of highly active antiretroviral therapy is advised for treating non-healthcare workers who have been exposed to HIV.

 

Antiretroviral therapy can reduce the risk of HIV infection after an exposure to the virus when:
* The person is seeking care less than 72 hours after they had an exposure to HIV that did not occur at work;
* The person was exposed to the blood, genital secretions, or other potentially infectious body fluids of a person known to be infected with HIV; and
* The exposure carries a high risk for transmission (spread) of HIV.

 

Post-exposure treatment in other situations is up to the doctor giving treatment.

 

Anyone who thinks they might have been exposed to HIV should seek the advice of their doctor right away.

Risks & Prevention

When is post-exposure prevention and antiretroviral drug treatment used for HIV?

Post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), or treatment, is used when a person has been exposed to a virus, such as HIV, and is at risk of getting infected. PEP may be given to people who seek care within 72 hours of an exposure that is considered to be a high risk for transmission (spreading) and has involved an exposure to:
* blood,
* genital fluids, or
* other potentially infectious body fluids of a person known to have HIV.

 

Post-exposure treatment for other situations is left up to the decision of the doctor or healthcare provider providing treatment. PEP can lower that person's chances of getting infected with the virus. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends antiretroviral drugs be given after an exposure to HIV:
* For healthcare workers exposed on the job; and
* For some exposures outside of work settings.

 

Factors such as the amount of blood and the amount of virus in the blood will affect the choice of drugs used for PEP. If you have questions about post-exposure treatment to prevent HIV infection, talk to your doctor.

Risks & Prevention

Are there existing recommendations for use of antiretroviral drugs after exposures to HIV?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends antiretroviral drugs be given after an exposure to HIV:
* For healthcare workers exposed on the job; and
* For some exposures outside of work settings.

 

If you are a healthcare professional, and have questions about postexposure treatment to prevent HIV infection, contact the National HIV/AIDS Clinicians' Consultation Center.

Risks & Prevention

Can I still spread HIV to another person if I do not have any symptoms?

If you have HIV, you can spread the virus to others whether you have symptoms or not. In fact, many people infected with HIV don't show symptoms for 8 years or more. HIV can be transmitted (spread) at all stages of the disease.

 

It's important to note that infected pregnant women who don't have symptoms can also transmit HIV to their fetus (unborn baby).

Risks & Prevention

Can I get HIV from oral sex?

It's possible for either partner to become infected with HIV by performing or receiving oral sex. There have been a few cases of HIV transmission (spread) from performing oral sex on a person infected with HIV. But, it is a less common mode of transmission than other sexual behaviors, such as anal and vaginal sex. While the exact degree of risk isn't known, evidence suggests that the risk is less than that of unprotected anal or vaginal sex.

Risks & Prevention

How can I prevent HIV transmission when using sex toys?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you not share sex toys with partners. If you choose to share sex toys, such as dildos or vibrators, with your partner:
* Each partner should use a new condom on the sex toy; and
* Be sure to clean sex toys between each use.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

What types of government assistance programs are available to those infected with HIV, or with a diagnosis of AIDS?

There are many types of government assistance programs for those infected with HIV. Programs include:
* Social Security benefits for people living with HIV/AIDS;
* Medicare;
* Medicaid;
* Income Support;
* Food Stamps;
* Housing; and
* The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Modernization Act.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

How will a positive HIV status affect my insurance coverage?

Federal law states that people with HIV or AIDS can no longer be denied coverage by a new employer. But, there can be a waiting period of up to 12 months before care for a chronic (life-long) illness, such as HIV, is covered. In some states you may also have to pay a little more for insurance than someone who doesn't have a chronic illness. However, this is not true in New York.

 

If you have insurance through your job, the first thing to do is to read your employer's policy booklet. An employer or an insurance carrier must provide a booklet that describes the insurance plan. It will describe the benefits in detail. It should also describe what is and is not included in the plan.

 

The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) attempts to address some of the problems people have had getting insurance when they change jobs, especially people with HIV and other vulnerable groups.

 

Contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Business Responds to AIDS/Labor Responds to AIDS program to learn more about HIV in the workplace and the laws that protect HIV-positive employees.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

How are drugs for HIV/AIDS tested?

Like all drugs in the U.S., HIV drugs must be approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The FDA requires that all drugs be tested several times. The drug companies test drugs to make sure they're safe and effective. This process has 2 main stages:
* pre-clinical testing, and
* human testing.

 

Pre-clinical tests are done on lab animals. After a drug passes this type of testing, it's tested on humans.

 

The FDA reviews all the test data. If this review shows that a drug's health benefits outweigh its known risks, it's approved for sale.

 

If you'd like to learn more about clinical trials and drugs used to treat HIV, contact AIDSinfo. AIDSinfo is a service offered by the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is sponsored by several Federal agencies. They offer the latest federally-approved information on HIV and AIDS:
* Clinical research;
* Treatment and prevention, and
* Medical practice guidelines, for consumers and healthcare providers

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

When should someone start taking medications to treat HIV infection?

If you test positive for HIV, the sooner you take steps to protect your health, the better. Early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well. Prompt medical care may delay the onset of AIDS and prevent some life-threatening conditions.

 

If you test positive for HIV, talk with a doctor as soon as you find out that you have it. Your doctor can help you learn more about the best treatment for you. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend you find a doctor who has experience treating people living with HIV.

 

You can learn more by visiting the CDC website or calling 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800 232-4636). Detailed information on specific treatments and enrolling in clinical trials is available from the Department of Health and Human Services' (DHHS) AIDSinfo.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

What are the side effects of HIV/AIDS drugs?

Different HIV and AIDS drugs have different side effects. They may be mild or serious. Many side effects go away when the person stops taking the drug. But, some side effects are permanent.

 

If you think you're having a side effect from a drug you're taking, contact your doctor as soon as possible. Some side effects that seem minor can be signs of more serious problems. Your doctor can help you figure out what to do.

 

Detailed information on specific treatments is available from the Department of Health and Human Services' AIDSinfo. You may contact AIDSinfo by phone at 1-800-448-0440 (English and Spanish).

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

How can a person infected with HIV stay healthy and prevent future illness?

If you have HIV, there are many things you can do to stay healthy.

 

* Make sure you see a doctor who knows how to treat HIV. Begin treatment as soon as your doctor tells you to;


* Keep your appointments and follow your doctor's instructions. If your doctor prescribes medicine for you, take the medicine just the way he or she tells you. Taking only some of your medicine gives your HIV infection more chance to fight back;


* If you get sick from your medicine, call your doctor for advice. Don't make changes to your medicine on your own or because of advice from friends;


* Get immunizations (vaccines) to prevent infections such as pneumonia (noo-MOH-nee-uh) (a lung infection) and influenza (flu). Your doctor will tell you when to get these vaccines;


* Practice safe sex to reduce your risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or another strain of HIV;


* If you smoke or use drugs not prescribed by your doctor, quit;


* Eat healthy foods. This will help keep you strong, keep your energy and weight up, and help your body protect itself;
* Exercise regularly;


* Get enough sleep and rest; and


* Take time to relax. Many people find that meditation or prayer, along with exercise and rest, help them cope with the stress of having HIV or AIDS.

 

There are also many things you can do to protect your health while preparing food, eating, traveling, and being around your pets. Talk with your doctor about these things. You can also read more about these things on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website..

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

I have HIV (or AIDS). Am I going to die?

A diagnosis with HIV is no longer the death sentence it once was. New treatments are allowing people to live long, healthy, and normal lives.

 

Early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well. Prompt medical care may delay the onset of AIDS and prevent some life-threatening conditions. There are many important steps you can take as soon as you find out you're HIV-positive to protect your health.

 

* See a doctor or healthcare provider, even if you don't feel sick. Try to find someone with experience treating HIV. There are now many drugs to treat HIV infection and help you maintain your health.

 

* Have a tuberculosis (too-bur-kyuh-LOH-sis) (TB) test. You may be infected with TB and not know it. Undetected TB can cause serious illness, but it can be successfully treated if caught early.

 

* Don't smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, or use illegal drugs. These behaviors can weaken your immune (body defense) system. There are programs that can help you reduce or stop using these substances.

 

* Get screened for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Undetected STDs can cause serious health problems. You should also practice safer sex to avoid getting STDs.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

If I test negative for HIV, does that mean my partner is negative also?

Your HIV test result reveals only your HIV status.

 

Also, a negative test result does not necessarily mean you're not infected. If you were exposed to HIV less than 3 months ago, you may need to repeat the test in a few months to make sure you don't have HIV.

 

Ask your sex or needle sharing partner or partners if he or she has been tested for HIV and what risk behaviors he or she has engaged in. Think about getting tested together.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

What are the healthcare treatment guidelines for HIV infection?

For specific information on the treatment of HIV and treatment guidelines, contact AIDSinfo. AIDSinfo is a service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and is sponsored by several Federal government agencies. AIDSinfo offers the latest federally approved information on HIV/AIDS:
* clinical research,
* treatment and prevention, and
* medical practice guidelines, for consumers and healthcare providers.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

If I have been infected with HIV, does that mean I will eventually get AIDS?

Most HIV-infected people will eventually develop AIDS.

 

Before 1996, scientists thought that about half the people with HIV would develop AIDS within 10 years of getting infected. This time varied greatly from person to person. It depended on many factors, such as the person's health status and health-related behaviors.

 

Since then, more powerful drugs have been developed to treat HIV. These drugs have increased the time between HIV infection and the development of AIDS. There are also other medical treatments that can prevent or cure some of the illnesses associated with AIDS. But, these treatments don't cure AIDS itself.

 

Estimates of how many people will develop AIDS and how soon are being studied and revised. This is because new treatments are helping people with HIV stay healthier longer. As with other diseases, early detection of infection allows more options for treatment and prevention.

What an HIV Diagnosis Means

What should I do if I test positive for HIV?

If your OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is positive, you will need a second test to confirm your test result. Please see your doctor or a local clinic to obtain a follow up test in a medical setting. A doctor, clinic or healthcare professional must confirm your OraQuick® In-Home HIV Test result. If you test positive for HIV, early medical treatment and a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well. Getting medical care right away may delay the onset of AIDS. It may also prevent some life-threatening conditions. There are many steps you can take to protect your health.

  •  See a doctor, even if you don't feel sick. Try to find a doctor who has experience treating HIV. There are many medications to treat HIV infection and help you maintain your health. It's never too early to start thinking about treatment.
  • Test for tuberculosis (TB) test. You may have TB and not know it. Undetected
     TB can cause serious illness, but TB can be successfully treated if caught early.
  • Don't smoke cigarettes, drink too much alcohol, or use illegal drugs like methamphetamines. These activities can weaken your immune (body defense) system. There are programs that can help you reduce or stop using these substances.
  • Get screened for other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Undetected STDs can cause serious
     health problems. It's also important to practice safe sex, so you can avoid getting STDs.
  • Not having sex is the most effective way to avoid spreading HIV to others. If you choose to have sex, use a latex condom to help protect your partner from HIV and other STDs. Studies have shown that latex condoms are very effective, though not 100 percent effective, in preventing HIV transmission (spread) if they're used correctly each time you have sex. If you or your partner are allergic to latex, you can use plastic (polyurethane) male or female condoms.
     

There is much you can do to stay healthy. Learn all that you can about maintaining good health.

HIV Resources

Where can I learn more about the different medications for treating HIV and AIDS?

If you have questions about treatment for HIV, talk to your doctor or a healthcare provider. He or she can help you figure out the best treatment for you. It's best if you see a doctor who has experience treating people with HIV.

 

For specific information on the treatment of HIV, and treatment guidelines, contact AIDSinfo. AIDSinfo is a service of the United States Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), and is sponsored by several Federal agencies. They offer the latest federally-approved information for consumers and healthcare providers on:
* Clinical research;
* Treatment and prevention; and
* Medical practice guidelines.

 

They also have information on enrolling in clinical trials.

 

Information is available in both English and Spanish..

HIV Resources

Is there funding to help pay for prescriptions for HIV-positive persons?

There are several programs that can help you pay for HIV medications. They include:

 

* AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAPs);
* Patient Assistance Programs; and
* Clinical trials.

 

ADAPs are state programs that provide free or low cost HIV/AIDS medications to under- or uninsured people who don't qualify for Medicaid.

 

Some drug companies have Patient Assistance Programs. Your doctor or counselor can help you find out how to apply for or enroll in any of these programs.

 

For many patients, the best access to medications is through clinical trials. By taking part in a clinical trial, you will get:
* Free doctor's care;
* Free lab testing; and
* Access to the newest drug combinations available.

HIV Resources

Where can I get tested for HIV infection?

You can test with OraQuick In-Home HIV Test in the privacy of your own home.

 

Many places also offer HIV testing. Common testing locations include:
* local health departments,
* private doctors' offices,
* hospitals, and
* other sites set up just for HIV testing

Additional Questions

Additional Questions

Can you answer questions about OraSure (OTI) (company-related questions, customer service, design/ development of test, request to communicate with OTI staff, or comments/suggestions to communicate directly to OTI)?

The OraQuick Support Center provides information about the OraQuick HIV test and some basic information about HIV. We are not equipped to handle questions or comments about OraSure Technologies, Inc. (OTI).

If you have specific questions or comments about OraSure or the design and development of their products, please contact OraSure Customer Service. In the US: 1-800-ORASURE (1-800-672-7873) or Outside the US (001) 610-882-1820 or the website www.orasure.com.

Additional Questions

How are drugs and medical devices approved?

For information about drug and medical device approval, please contact the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) directly. You can also visit their website for information.

Additional Questions

Can you answer questions about STDs other than HIV?

The OraQuick Answer Center can only provide information about the OraQuick HIV test and some basic information about HIV. If you are seeking more in-depth information about HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), please contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC Division of STD Prevention provides a wide array of information about STDs. You can visit their website or you can call them toll-free at 1-800-CDC-INFO (1-800-232-4636).

 

If you think you might be infected with an STD, please talk to your doctor as soon as possible.

Additional Questions

Can you answer questions I have related to sex education?

The OraQuick Answer Center can only provide information about the OraQuick HIV test and some basic information about HIV. If you have questions about sex education, please talk with your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with information and/or resources that will address your questions or concerns.

 

You can also contact your state or local health department. If you would like, we can provide you with the contact information for your state/local health department.

Additional Questions

Can you answer questions I have about my health in general?

The OraQuick Answer Center provides information about the OraQuick HIV test and some basic information about HIV. If you have questions or concerns regarding your health, please talk with your doctor. He or she will be able to provide you with information and/or a diagnosis about your concern(s).

 

If you think you need urgent medical attention, you should call 911 immediately.

Additional Questions

Why provide rapid HIV testing?

Rapid HIV testing can give people results within minutes rather than days. Public programs do about 2.1 million HIV tests each year.

Additional Questions

What are the different types of rapid HIV tests?

OraQuick In-Home HIV test is the only rapid HIV test available for use by consumers.

 

There are other HIV tests licensed for use by healthcare professionals in the U.S.

 

As with all screening tests, a positive test result must be confirmed by a follow-up test in a professional setting (by a doctor or other healthcare professional).

Additional Questions

I have heard about a vaccine being developed overseas. Can you tell me about it?

OraSure does not monitor HIV/AIDS vaccine development in the private sector or in other countries. Currently, there are no approved HIV/AIDS vaccines. But, many products are being studied.

 

Visit the websites for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the United States National Institutes of Health (NIH) to learn more about HIV vaccine research and development efforts. You can also learn more about clinical trials for HIV vaccines by visiting the AIDSinfo website.

Additional Questions

How do we know that the vaccines being tested are safe?

The HIV vaccines that are currently being tested cannot cause HIV infection. HIV vaccines contain part of HIV genes. These gene fragments can stimulate an immune (body defense) response. But, they cannot re-form themselves into an infectious virus. Therefore, a person cannot become infected from the vaccine.

 

Also, only a few side effects have been linked with the research vaccines. They include:
* soreness at the injection site,
* a low-grade fever, and
* body aches.

 

It's also important to note that all research vaccines are thoroughly screened and examined before they can be used in a clinical trial. In addition, before a vaccine can be given to people in research trials, it's first reviewed by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and other clinical review boards.

Additional Questions

Can I drink, smoke, or use tobacco while on medications to treat HIV infection?

Talk with your doctor about lifestyle changes you should make as a result of being HIV positive. He or she will be able to help you figure out what is best for you and your situation.

 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that you do not smoke, drink, or use illegal drugs if you have HIV. Smoking cigarettes, drinking too much alcohol, or using illegal drugs can weaken your immunity (body's defense). Living a healthy lifestyle can help you stay well longer.

Additional Questions

Can you give me more information on clinical trials for HIV vaccines?

OraSure cannot provide you with information on clinical trials for HIV vaccines.

 

If you are currently enrolled in a clinical trial, contact the trial site with any questions you may have about the vaccine or the trial.

 

If you would like more information on ongoing or upcoming clinical trials, visit the United States National Institutes of Health, National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Diseases website, or the ClinicalTrials.gov website.

Additional Questions

Which HIV tests can be used to test for HIV-2?

The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test can test for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. It is the only rapid HIV test available for use by consumers.

 

Other tests for HIV-2 are available through your doctor or a clinic, such as:
* The MultiSpot HIV-1/HIV-2 Rapid Test, manufactured by Bio-Rad Laboratories, which uses blood from a vein to test for HIV-1 and/or HIV 2, and can differentiate between HIV-1 and HIV-2; and
* The Clearview HIV 1/2 Stat-Pak and the Clearview Complete HIV 1/2, manufactured by Inverness Medical Professional Diagnostics, which use blood from a vein or finger stick to test for HIV-1 and/or HIV 2.

 

The availability of these tests varies.