What Are the Options for HIV Testing?
There are two main kinds of HIV tests - the Antibody test, which is cheap and designed for routine testing and the Antigen test which detects HIV quickly following infection. There are 3 main options for taking HIV tests in the UK. These are Home, private or NHS screening. We investigate the 3 options for taking the test.
HIV Home screening was launched in the UK in 2006. The public collects a saliva sample and sends it to a lab to be analysed. The screening was initially banned simply because there was no counselling available. Nevertheless, post test counselling is now available if the outcome is not "all clear". The problem is that the test is less reliable that a normal blood test, and a blood test with nonetheless be required to confirm infection. The saliva test is much less sensitive and is not likely to be able to detect a recent infection. In brief the blood test is more reliable, and if you take the test with the NHS, the blood test is also free. There is also a house test that you can purchase that allows you to take the sample and get the result at house, however Avert, the international AIDS and HIV charity, reports that this test is illegal in the UK.
A private HIV screening expenses from about GBP 100. The benefit of visiting a clinic is that you can make sure a reliable outcome. A positive rapid HIV result which can use either blood or saliva requirements to be followed up by a confirmatory test.
Alternatively you can visit a stroll in NHS GUM clinic for free and confidential screening. The NHS will carry out a easy blood test, nevertheless patients in a higher risk group will also be provided the fast HIV screening. A positive result from the NHS has the advantage of becoming in a position to offer great counselling and referral to specialist HIV clinics.
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