What is HIV and what is AIDS?
The HIV infection is not curable, but treatable well, so you do not get AIDS. After a risk situation, it is important to recognize any symptoms and seek advice. If the therapy starts in time, the immune system will be strengthened and the health improved.
When to talk about AIDS?
If an HIV infection is left untreated, the viruses damage the body and the immune system. Later, life-threatening illnesses occur, for example severe pneumonia. Only then does one speakof AIDS.This is an abbreviation and stands for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome.
It is only possible to find out if you are HIV-positive with an HIV self test. Many people say “AIDS test”, which is not entirely true. An HIV test usually detects HIV antibodies, although AIDS has not been on the rise for a long time. If a test is positive, you can start HIV therapy and prevent the onset of AIDS. With HIV, you can live long and well today.
The story of AIDS
The HIV virus was discovered in 1983 and identified as the cause of AIDS in the same year. For a long time, HIV was a deadly diagnosis – because effective treatment of HIV to prevent AIDS did not come much later (the so-called “antiretroviral therapy”, which was introduced in 1996).
How does HIV transmission work?
HIV is relatively difficult to transfer. There is a risk of infection only if infectious bodily fluids come into contact with wounds or mucous membranes. These body fluids include, in particular, blood, semen, vaginal fluid and the fluid film on the mucous membrane of the rectum.
HIV is most commonly transmitted in unprotected sexual intercourse. Also very risky is the sharing of syringes in drug use. You can protect yourself well from HIV, through safer sex and safer use. The risk of HIV transmission is increased when a particularly high number of viruses are present in the blood and body fluids. This is the case, for example, two to four weeks after a fresh HIV infection, because the virus then proliferates particularly strongly.
When HIV-positive people take medication, HIV is no longer transferable: HIV treatment suppresses the multiplication of viruses in the body. HIV can not be transmitted, not even during sex. This is called protection by therapy.
No HIV risk
Saliva, tears and urine contain very few HIV viruses. Transmission via these body fluids is therefore excluded. In addition, the virus is only very briefly survivable outside the body and can be reliably killed by cleaning measures. No risk of infection at:
- Kissing, handshake, hugging
- Coughing or annoying
- Using the same plates, glasses and cutlery
- sharing toilets, towels or bed linen
- Visit of swimming pools or saunas
- Collaborate and live with people living with HIV / AIDS
- Caring for and caring for people with HIV / AIDS
- First aid, provided that the hygienic regulations are met (gloves, respiratory mask)
- medical and cosmetic treatments (dentist, pedicure and so on), provided that the hygienic regulations are adhered to
- Tattooing and piercing, provided that they work under hygienic conditions
- insect bites
HIV risk during sex
HIV is most commonly transmitted in unprotected anal and vaginal intercourse. Sperm, vaginal fluid and menstrual blood can contain a great many HIV viruses. The mucous membranes in the rectum and vagina are very sensitive and can easily ingest HIV, as well as the inside of the foreskin and the urethra.
Since vaginal and intestinal mucosa can contain many HIV viruses, there is also a risk for the “active” (penetrating) partner in vaginal and anal intercourse.
When oral sex (“blowing”, “licking”) is a low risk when sperm or menstrual blood enters the mouth (see also safe sex and oral sex). However, this risk is much lower than in anal or vaginal intercourse because the oral mucosa is more resistant to HIV than other mucous membranes. When taking up vaginal fluid without blood, the amount of virus for infection is insufficient. Even when receiving the “pleasure drop” HIV transmission is excluded.
Other venereal diseases increase the risk of HIV: Inflamed mucous membranes make it easier for HIV to enter or leave the body. In HIV-infected people, inflamed mucous membranes contain a particularly large number of HIV viruses.
HIV risk during drug use
There is a very high risk of sharing syringes during drug use. HIV can enter the bloodstream directly. Blood remains in the syringe can keep the virus for several days. In addition, it is very easy to get infected with hepatitis when using syringe and accessories together.
HIV risk in mother-to-child transmission
HIV-positive women can transmit HIV to their child at birth or while breast-feeding. Today, however, this risk can be eliminated almost completely by drugs and other measures.
How is the HIV risk assessed?
Not every unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse between an HIV-infected and an uninfected partner automatically causes HIV to be passed on. The risk of infection increases the more often one has unprotected sex.
You can compare this effect with driving a car: the more you drive, the greater the chance of getting involved in an accident. In addition, men who have sex with men have a particularly high risk of becoming infected, because HIV is more prevalent in this population group. This increases the likelihood that you have sex with an HIV-positive partner and that there is a transmission.
About the INSTI® HIV Self Test
How does the iCare HIV self-test work?
The application is extremely easy. Wash your hands thoroughly and disinfect your finger with the supplied disinfectant cloth. With the sterile pad possible residues are removed. Now you peck yourself carefully with the lancet and take a drop of blood with the pipette.
Put the test cassette in front of you and put the blood drop in the oval field “. The field should be completely red. Now you take the small bottle and drip the liquid in the field “DILUENT”. Start now with the time measurement and read the result after 10 minutes.
How accurate is the iCare HIV self test?
iCare HIV home test has a sensitivity 99% and a specificity of also 99%. This percentage indicates that the test is extremely accurate.
What is the waiting time for a correct result of the iCare HIV home test?
The HIV self-test looks for antibodies that the body will form only after some time after HIV infection. The time between a possible HIV transmission and the positive HIV test result can last between 4-12 weeks. Because only after 4 weeks at the earliest antibodies are formed that recognizes the HIV self-test.
How will I know if my test was done correctly?
The INSTI® HIV Self Test has a built-in checkpoint that shows if the test was performed correctly and you have added the appropriate amount of fingertip blood. If the checkpoint does not appear, the test did not work. Please discard it and repeat it with a new test.
If only the checkpoint appears, the result is negative and you probably do not have HIV.
If two points are visible, the test result is positive. That means you probably have HIV. Although the results of the INSTI® HIV self-test are more than 99% accurate, you really need to get a positive result from a doctor as soon as possible so that you can receive treatment as soon as possible.
What if your result is negative?
Then you are very likely not infected with the HIV virus, but you should continue to prevent the risks of HIV infection, for example by practicing safer sex or by following other prevention methods.
If you think you may have been infected in the last 3 months, repeat the test after 3 months.
It is recommended that you perform the test every 3-12 months if you are at an increased risk of becoming HIV.
If the HIV self-test is positive, what should I do?
If both stripes appear you are probably HIV-positive. This result is not final yet! All positive (or reactive) rapid test results must be confirmed by a special laboratory test. Only if this test is positive, the diagnosis is safe. You can do this confirmation test at a health office or, ideally, in an HIV-focused practice. There you could then immediately start with an HIV therapy, if the positive result is confirmed. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the experts nearby your home.