HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is a virus that weakens the immune system by destroying cells that fight disease and infection. While there is no cure for HIV right now, with proper medical care and treatment, people who have HIV can live long and healthy lives.
Why is it important to seek HIV testing in Orlando? As of 2019, there were 12,740 people with HIV living in Orlando, which was an increase of 665 cases since 2018. Additionally, most people who get HIV have no symptoms for years, so they will not be aware that they have it until they are tested. In this blog, we will explain what you can expect from your appointment for HIV testing in Orlando. If you have not scheduled an appointment yet, contact Harmony Healthcare Orlando today.
When you arrive for your testing appointment, your medical provider will take a sample. Harmony Healthcare Orlando uses FDA approved CLIA waived rapid tests, which allow us to obtain blood samples through a simple finger-stick. The finger-stick is similar to the way that someone who is diabetic would check their blood sugar. These tests detect antibodies to HIV-1 and HIV-2 in your blood, and can deliver results in approximately 15 minutes. We can also test by drawing blood if the finger-stick is not appropriate for the patient.
If your test comes back non-reactive, or negative, and you do not have a known possible exposure to HIV in the last three months, you do not have HIV antibodies present in the blood sample given. We strongly encourage you to continue being tested every 3 months due to the 90 day window period. Antigen/antibody tests done with blood from a finger prick take longer to detect HIV (18 to 90 days after exposure).
If your test comes back reactive, or positive, your healthcare provider will draw your blood to obtain a sample to send to the lab for a confirmatory test. Since the finger-stick checks for antibodies and not the virus itself, this confirmatory test will rule out any potential false-reactives that can be caused by Lupus and other autoimmune conditions. The confirmatory test will determine whether someone is positive or negative for HIV.
If your HIV test comes back reactive, or positive, it is not unusual to feel a lot of different emotions. This is why it is so important to be seen by a compassionate medical provider who understands what you are going through and is not going to judge you. The medical providers at Harmony Healthcare Orlando are here to support you during this time and will work with you personally to find the best treatment option.
The only way to be certain about your HIV status is through testing. When you know your status, you are empowered to keep yourself and any of the sexual partners you may have healthy. Additionally, the CDC recommends that everyone who engages in activities that can increase their chances of contracting HIV be tested.
When you need HIV testing in Orlando, come to an office that will provide your treatment and testing in a warm, welcoming environment free of judgment or assumptions. Harmony Healthcare Orlando also offers Hepatitis C medical care, PrEP, PEP, STI testing and treatment, and more. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our providers.