Presentation on theme: "Preventing HIV/AIDS There is no way to tell just by looking whether a person is infected with HIV. Because people are unaware that they are HIV-positive,"— Presentation transcript:
Preventing HIV/AIDS There is no way to tell just by looking whether a person is infected with HIV. Because people are unaware that they are HIV-positive, they may unknowingly spread the virus to others.
How to protect against HIV Every individual can take action to prevent the spread of HIV/AIDS. Practice abstinence Do not share needles Avoid situations where drug and alcohol use might compromise decision making Use refusal skills when feeling pressured to engage in risky behaviors Before engaging in a risky behavior, ask yourself: What do I know about the people in my life and their behaviors? Will they put me at risk for getting HIV/AIDS? How can I be sure another person is not HIV-positive
Diagnosing HIV If someone believes they may have been exposed to HIV, that person needs to be tested. HIV testing is available in: Doctors offices Local health department Hospitals Community health organizations that specialize in HIV testing A blood sample or an oral specimen from inside of the cheek and the gum is collected and sent to a lab for analysis. Results are usually available within two weeks. At most testing sites, qualified personnel are available to answer questions, make referrals, and explain results. Types of Tests Technicians screen test samples for HIV antibodies. A person’s body does not naturally have HIV antibodies: HIV antibodies are produced only in the presence of an infection. The most common laboratory tests used to screen, diagnose, and confirm HIV antibodies are the EIA and Western Blot tests.
Diagnostic testing: performing an HIV test based on clinical signs or symptoms Screening: performing an HIV test for all persons in a defined population Targeted testing: performing an HIV test on subpopulations of persons at higher risk based on behavioral, clinical or demographic characteristics Opt-out screening: performing an HIV test after notifying the patient that the test will be done; consent is inferred unless the patient declines Informed consent: process of communication between patient and provider through which the patient can participate in choosing whether or not to undergo HIV testing HIV prevention counseling: interactive process to assess risk, recognize risky behaviors, and develop a plan to take steps that will reduce risks Testing Terminology
EIA Test Generally referred to as ELISA or, alternatively, EIA, these tests detect HIV antibodies, which the body starts producing between 2 and 12 weeks after becoming infected with HIV. The ELISA test is designed to be highly sensitive meaning, miss as few HIV infections as possible. Current HIV antibody tests can detect antibodies as early as 3 weeks after exposure. All positive HIV antibody test results should be confirmed with a Western blot, a rapid test of a different brand than the initial test, or an HIV viral load test. Some HIV antibody tests will not detect HIV-2 (a strain of HIV that is found in western Africa) and some more uncommon strains of HIV-1. If HIV-2 infection is suspected, it is important to know whether the antibody test used is designed to detect both HIV-1 and HIV-2. Antibody tests may use any of 3 body fluids to detect antibodies to HIV. These are as follows: Blood Oral Fluid Urine Results from most ELISA tests and confirmatory Western blot tests are usually available within 2 to 14 days.
Western Blot The Western Blot is the most common test used to confirm positive results from an ELISA or rapid HIV test. It generally is used only as a confirmatory test because it is difficult to perform and requires highly technical skills. Its advantage is that it is less likely to give a false-positive result because it can more effectively distinguish HIV antibodies from other antibodies. If the results of the EIA and the Western Blot tests are all positive, a person is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. The combined EIA and Western Blot tests are expensive. Rapid Test Using technology similar to that of an ELISA, a rapid test produces results in approximately 20 minutes. Two types of rapid tests are available now. One uses blood the other uses oral fluids. There are two possible outcomes with this test: negative (meaning that the test does not detect any HIV antibodies) or "preliminary positive" (meaning the rapid HIV test shows an HIV-positive result) but, as with the ELISA test, that result must be confirmed with a second test such as a Western blot or a second rapid test from a different manufacturer. If the result is preliminary positive, the provider will discuss what this means with the client, including the importance of practicing safer sex and taking other precautions until the confirmation test results come back, and will schedule a time for the client to receive confirmatory results.
Additional Tests RNA and CD4 Two other tests-the RNA and the CD4- may be run when a Western Blot test comes back positive. The RNA, or viral load test, shows how many copies of the virus are circulating in the blood. The CD4 test looks at the number of white blood cells in a sample of blood. These two tests give a complete picture of an HIV-infected person’s condition. They can also help doctors monitor the disease and determine how much medicine, if any, a patient needs. Home Testing Kits If planning to use a home testing kit which are marketed on the internet, newspapers, and magazines, check to make sure the test is FDA approved. An FDA approved home testing kit requires providing a spot of dried blood, which is then mailed To an approved lab for analysis. The results are more than 99% accurate and are available within 2 weeks. Appropriate referrals and counseling are provided for both negative and positive test results.
It is important that people get tested for HIV and know that they are infected early so that medical care and treatment have the greatest effect. Is there a cure for HIV? There is no known cure for HIV/AIDS but scientists are working hard to find one, and remain hopeful. If untreated, HIV is almost universally fatal because it eventually overwhelms the immune system—resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). With proper medical care, HIV can be controlled. HIV treatment helps people at all stages of the disease, and treatment can slow or prevent progression from one stage to the next. Treatment for HIV is often called antiretroviral therapy or ART. ART can dramatically prolong the lives of many people infected with HIV and lower their chance of infecting others. Before the introduction of ART in the mid-1990s, people with HIV could progress to AIDS in just a few years. Today, someone diagnosed with HIV and treated before the disease is far advanced can have a nearly normal life expectancy.