Reliable and easy screening for HIV
What is HIV?
HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus, a virus that targets the immune system. Without proper treatment, HIV renders its host susceptible to infections by causing what is called the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). HIV is transmitted by direct blood or biological liquid contact. Around 20 000 persons are estimated to live with HIV in Quebec.
How do we screen for HIV?
Créa-MeD performs HIV screenings by using a fourth generation HIV blood test. This test combines the most recent and reliable techniques to offer the best results available.
HIV testing is part of the Créa-MeD routine STI screening, but can also be carried out on its own upon patient request. There is much information available about HIV, its mode of transmission, and the different tests available. It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed with the quantity of information and to feel anxious about getting screened. Our appointments always include some counseling time with a nurse clinician or a doctor to answer your questions if need be.
When to get tested for HIV?
To obtain accurate results, it is important not to carry a screening test too early.
- Do I have to really wait three months to get accurate results?
The vast majority of people infected by HIV will show antibodies between three weeks and three months after the exposure, and thus becoming seropositive. Consequently, the ideal moment to undergo a screening for HIV is three months after a contact that might have been at risk.
Fourth generation HIV test however, while still measuring antibodies, also screen for the P24 protein. P24 proteins levels rise gradually between one to three weeks from exposure and its screening increases the chances of detecting the infection early. It is nonetheless important to mention that P24 protein levels do not replace antibodies screening. During your visit, your nurse or doctor will be able to determine with you when would be the best time to screen for HIV based on your specific context.
- So are the results of a fourth generation HIV test valid before three months?
Fourth generation HIV tests are extremely sensitive and viable to use as early as three weeks from a contact that might have been at risk in most cases of routine screenings.