HIV Information and Consent

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HIV: Understanding the Infection and Your Testing Options

HIV testing ordered through Health Testing Centers/Testing.com is voluntary. Before requesting an HIV test, you should read the information below.

What is HIV and who is affected?
HIV stands for human immunodeficiency virus. It is the virus that causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV infection is a serious health concern. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1 million people in the US have HIV infection, with 13% of those unaware that they are infected.1 HIV is not curable, but it can be managed with medication in many people.

How is HIV transmitted? Who is at risk?
HIV is passed through bodily fluids. You can get HIV from unprotected sex with a person who has HIV. This includes vaginal, anal, or oral sex without a condom. HIV is also passed by sharing needles (for injecting drugs, or for tattoos or piercings). It can also be contracted through a blood transfusion. In addition, HIV infection can be passed from mother to baby during birth or breastfeeding.

Who should get tested for HIV?
Anyone who is having sex without condoms or is sharing needles is at risk for contracting HIV. The CDC recommends that ALL individuals beginning between 13 and 64 years of age have at least one HIV test.1 The CDC recommends an HIV test at least one a year for those at high risk.1

Some people have higher rates of HIV infection than others. Knowledge of this information may help you make a decision about your need for an HIV test. According to the CDC1:

  • Gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are affected by HIV at higher rates than any other group in the US.
  • High HIV infection rates have also been found among transgender women in the US, although data for transgender people is limited. Transgender is a term for people who identify with a gender (masculine, feminine, other) that is different from their sex at birth (male, female).
  • African-American and Latina women continue to be disproportionately affected by HIV, compared with women of other races/ethnicities.

The CDC also recommends that ALL pregnant women be screened for HIV, regardless of risk.1

What is an HIV test?
An HIV test is a safe way to learn if you have HIV. These include urine tests and blood tests. Blood tests are the most accurate. Testing.com ONLY offers a blood test.

What does it test for?
The HIV test offered by Testing.com is an antigen/antibody combination test.2 This is also called a fourth-generation test. This is the type of test that is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).3 The test looks for two things: 1) antibodies to both types of HIV (HIV-1 and HIV-2) and 2) the p24 antigen.

If the initial test is negative for the presence of HIV antibodies and p24 antigen, the result will display “nonreactive.” A nonreactive test is negative for HIV.

If the initial test is “reactive” (positive for HIV antibodies or p24 antigen, then another test—called a supplementary or confirmatory test for antibody—will automatically be performed. The confirmatory test can usually distinguish between HIV-1 (the most common type) and HIV-2. Knowing what type of HIV is present is important for treatment considerations. If the confirmatory test is negative or indeterminate for HIV-1 or unclear about HIV-2, then a nucleic acid test (NAT) will be performed to determine if HIV-1 RNA is present.

Your HIV test from Testing.com includes this multi-step testing process. There are no additional fees for the confirmatory and NAT tests, if needed.

How do I understand my result?
A reactive or positive result is consistent with a diagnosis of HIV. If your test is positive, you will receive a call from the doctor who placed your order for testing to help explain your test result. After this call, you should take your test results to your primary care or internal medicine doctor. If you do not have a regular doctor, you may wish to visit a local health department or free clinic that can assist you in getting medical care for HIV.

Your result is part of your confidential medical record. A positive HIV test result must be reported to the appropriate state health authority. You should be aware that some states require that you notify all previous sex partners of your status, and any people you may have shared needles with for drug use.

A negative result means that HIV was not detected. However, when a person gets infected with HIV, there is a “window period” when an HIV test can be negative and you may still be infected. The window period is usually 1-3 weeks after infection.3

Why do I need an HIV test?
HIV testing is important for your health. Regular testing for HIV leads to earlier diagnosis. Awareness of your HIV status can help you take steps to avoid infecting your sex partners, and enables you to get care during the acute phase (early stages) of infection, where treatment can be most effective.

If you are pregnant, there are treatment options for HIV that are safe for you and for the baby. This can help you significantly lower the risk of passing HIV to your baby.

How can I protect myself against HIV?
You can protect yourself from HIV (as well as other sexually transmitted infections) through abstinence.1 You can reduce your risk for HIV by using a condom every time you have sex.1 You should also get tested regularly for other STDs because having an STD increases your risk for HIV.1

If you use drugs, you should consider getting professional help.1 Ending your drug use reduces your exposure risk.1 If you continue to inject drugs, you should only use new, sterile needles and never share needles.1

For people with high-risk lifestyles, there are options for treatment even if you do NOT have HIV. These medications are called pre-exposure prophylaxis and post-exposure prophylaxis.1 You can learn more about these options by talking with a health care provider.

Where can I learn more?
You can learn more by talking to a health care provider. If you do not have one, you may wish to make an appointment at your local health department. You can also visit the web sites listed below or call a toll-free number below.

References
1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV Basics. Available at:
http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/index.html. Revised: May 3, 2016. Accessed: May 10, 2016.
2. Bio-Rad Laboratories. GS HIV Combo Ag/Ab EIA. Part No. 506188. Revised: July 2011.
3. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Laboratory Testing for the Diagnosis of HIV Infection.
Updated Recommendations. Available at: http://stacks.cdc.gov/view/cdc/23447. Published: June 27, 2014. Accessed: May 10, 2016.

 

____ I have read the information above and would like to order an HIV test from Testing.com. I understand what is included in the test and how my results will be released.

Printed Name ___________________________________

Date of birth ______ / ______ / _________ (mm/dd/yyyy)

Today’s date ______ / ______ / _________(mm/dd/yyyy)