HIV Test

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  • Product Description
  • How it works
  • FAQs

Product Description

HIV Test

What is it?

HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is an infectious virus that is spread by sexual intercourse (most commonly vaginal and anal intercourse). It gradually destroys a person’s immune system. This means that an infected person begins to lose their ability to fight new infections.

Due to improvements in drugs and treatment, being HIV positive is no longer considered as life threatening. This is because there is a wide range of successful drugs which, if taken correctly, can greatly reduce the impact of HIV on your immune system. It is very important to get medical advice early in the infection to ensure that your treatment is successful. Regular testing is important, so that if you do test positive you can see a specialist when the infection is in its early stages. Infection with HIV also may mean you have an increased risk of contracting other STIs as your immune system is not able to fight off these infections.

If HIV is left untreated, it can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is a condition caused by the HIV virus. AIDS can develop when the immune system can no longer fight off infections and they can then become life-threatening.

Why you should get tested

The only way to know if you are HIV positive is to have an HIV test. If a test shows a positive result, starting treatment early is the key for successful management of the virus. If you are HIV positive it is very important that you get prompt medical advice so that doctors can monitor your condition, and begin your treatment as soon as possible. If you do not treat your HIV infection then it is likely to become life threatening within eight years. It also means that you are very likely to pass on the virus to someone else.

How is HIV passed on?

Infection with HIV can occur by the transfer of any body fluid. This may be blood, semen, pre-ejaculate fluid, vaginal fluid or breast milk. HIV can be spread by sexual contact with an infected person, when body fluids meet, by sharing needles and/or syringes with someone who is infected, or through transfusions of infected blood. In Ireland, all blood is routinely screened, so transmission by blood transfusion is uncommon.

What are the symptoms of HIV / AIDS?

Over half of people newly infected with HIV will have symptoms in the first few weeks of infection. These are often similar to a cold or flu. Early symptoms can include a headache, sore throat, rash, and a high temperature. Symptoms can also include feeling sick, being sick and diarrhoea as the lymph nodes around your stomach are often where the virus attacks first. Having these symptoms does not necessarily mean that you have HIV as these are symptoms that are common to many illnesses. If you do not have these symptoms, it does not mean that you do not have HIV either.

After the initial period, someone with HIV may have no outward signs for a number of years. It is during this time, if left untreated, that the virus is attacking the immune system. This makes someone with HIV weaker and less able to fight infections. It may take longer to recover from a cold, and increase susceptibility to other infections.

When the infection has progressed, an HIV positive person can start to feel very sick and develop an AIDS defining illness. This is when they will be said to have AIDS. Most of the symptoms come from the other infections or illnesses that the person infected with HIV has acquired, as their immune system cannot fight these infections. This is because the HIV infection has reduced the body’s ability to fight off other infections. Untreated, the body will not be able to fight these infections indefinitely, and the person may die.

HIV / AIDS Home Testing Kit

Getting tested for HIV is very important and can be done quickly and easily with the Better2Know home sample collection kit.

All you need to do is take a small sample of your blood from your finger using the lancet included in the pack. We will also email you a copy of the sample collection instruction leaflet. Once you have taken your sample, you return the kit to our laboratory in the post, then our lab will carry out highly accurate testing for HIV types 1 and 2 and the p-24 antigen.

HIV Testing Everywhere

With the Better2Know Everywhere Service, we Come2You everywhere within a 20 miles radius of Dublin. Simply call our friendly booking team on the number above to book an appointment at a convenient time and place. Your nurse will attend and, following your test, will personally deliver your sample to the laboratory. Your nurse will not know your results - these are confidential between you and Better2Know.

You can use any name you like for your appointment, and suitable venues include your home, office, a hotel or anywhere where the nurse can wash their hands. Alternatively, you can choose a Better2Know Instant HIV test. This test offers the same accuracy as the lab based test and you’ll have your result in 20 minutes during your appointment with the nurse.

Our Everywhere service also includes the option of an Early Detection Screen. This option includes testing for HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C just ten days after any infection your are concerned about. This screen is particularly suitable if you are worried about a recent incident and want fast answers for your peace of mind. Please call our friendly team to discuss your requirements.

HIV testing at a Better2Know clinic

Getting a HIV test at one of our clinics is fast, easy and convenient. We offer the full range of HIV tests at all our clinics, including our Early Detection Screen which will test for HIV, as well as Hepatitis B and C at only 10 days after possible infection. This is an excellent test and offers the earliest possible opportunity to test for these infections. You can also have our DUO test, which tests for HIV Type 1 and 2 antibodies as well as the p24 antigen. This 4th generation test is extremely accurate at 28 or more days post exposure, and will give you the information you need regarding your status.

5th Generation HIV test

Better2Know offers the 5th Generation HIV test which provides more information than ever before about your HIV status. The 5th Gen test can detect and identify both HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies in one blood sample therefore specifically informing you which marker is positive. Both viruses are similar but represent acute and established HIV infection and the new test can identify whether you are at an early or later stage of infection.

The 5th Generation test, including the home test kit, also includes a test for the p24 antigen. With an HIV infection, the p24 protein is the antigen that most commonly triggers the body's antibody response. During the first few weeks following infection the p24 antigen becomes detectable in the blood and is the first marker of HIV being present.

Treating HIV / AIDS

There is currently no cure or vaccine for HIV or AIDS. HIV is not considered life threatening if detected early and properly managed by specialists. You are likely to be on medication for the rest of your life, but your HIV doctor will help you to get the best treatment for you. If you have tested positive for HIV we will help you with what to do next by referring you to one of Ireland’s leading consultants.

How it works

How It Works:

Buying your home test kits online is simple:

  • 1 Buy your test online.
  • 2 Receive it in the post.
  • 3 Provide a sample.
  • 4 Free return postage to the lab.
  • 5 Check your results securely online.

We provide a completely confidential and anonymous service. Please refer to our FAQs above, for more information. If you have any additional questions, please do not hesitate to contact us, using the phone number at the top of the page.

FAQs

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: When will you send my kit to me?

If your order is placed before 4pm on a working day, then it will be sent the same day. Otherwise it will be sent on the next working day.

Q: Why do you need my email address?

Your Patient Services Manager, Louise Wright, will email you your login details to access your results, a confirmation your kit has been dispatched and finally when all your results are ready. We do not sell on or email you any other marketing materials, that is why we do not ask you to opt in or out of anything.

Q: Do I need to use my real name?

No, but the postman does need to know where to deliver the kit to. As long as you use a name that will get the kit to you, then we do not need your real name.

Q: What if I do not want to pay by card?

Our payment reference on your card will show up as "health screen" so it will not link your purchase to Better2Know. If you do not want to pay by card then we can also accept PayPal and cash. Please call our Patient Services Team to arrange payment.

Q: What does the kit packaging look like?

It will arrive in plain white envelope with your typed name and address on it.

Q: What if I have any more questions?

You can email Louise by replying to one of the emails she has sent to you. She will do her best to answer them.