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HIV/AIDS: Tests

AIDS is a collection of symptoms known as acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. It is caused by infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

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(Source: NIH - National Human Genome Research Institute)

About HIV Testing

The only way to know for sure whether you have HIV is to get tested.

Knowing your HIV status gives you powerful information to help you take steps to keep you and your partner healthy.

  • If you test positive, you can take medicine to treat HIV to stay healthy for many years and greatly reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to your sex partner.
  • If you test negative, you have more prevention tools available today to prevent HIV than ever before.
  • If you are pregnant, you should be tested for HIV so that you can begin treatment if you're HIV-positive. If an HIV-positive woman is treated for HIV early in her pregnancy, the risk of transmitting HIV to her baby can be very low....Read more about HIV Testing

CDC - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

What works? Research summarized

Evidence reviews

Medical use of cannabis in patients with HIV/AIDS.

The use of cannabis (marijuana), its active ingredient or synthetic forms such as dronabinol has been advocated in patients with HIV/AIDS, in order to improve the appetite, promote weight gain and lift mood. Dronabinol has been registered for the treatment of AIDS‐associated anorexia in some countries. However, the evidence for positive effects in patients with HIV/AIDS is limited, and some of that which exists may be subject to the effects of bias. Those studies that have been performed have included small numbers of participants and have focused on short‐term effects. Longer‐term data, and data showing a benefit in terms of survival, are lacking. There are insufficient data available at present to justify wide‐ranging changes to the current regulatory status of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids.

Peer Support for Diabetes, Heart Disease and HIV/AIDS: A Review of the Clinical Effectiveness, Cost-effectiveness, and Guidelines [Internet]

Chronic diseases are a significant and growing challenge in Canada. In the province of Ontario, for example, 33% of people were living with at least one chronic disease in 2005. Diabetes, heart disease and HIV/AIDS are three of the most common health chronic conditions in Canada for which education, coaching, and other interventions such as peer support may help patients to gain the confidence, knowledge, skills, and motivation to manage their disease.

Strategies for Improving the Lives of Women Aged 40 and Above Living With HIV/AIDS [Internet]

While in its early years the HIV epidemic affected primarily the male and the young, nowadays the population living with HIV/AIDS comprises approximately 24 percent women, and its age composition has shifted towards older ages. Many women over 40 who live with HIV/AIDS also live with the medical and social conditions that accompany aging.

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Summaries for consumers

Medical use of cannabis in patients with HIV/AIDS.

The use of cannabis (marijuana), its active ingredient or synthetic forms such as dronabinol has been advocated in patients with HIV/AIDS, in order to improve the appetite, promote weight gain and lift mood. Dronabinol has been registered for the treatment of AIDS‐associated anorexia in some countries. However, the evidence for positive effects in patients with HIV/AIDS is limited, and some of that which exists may be subject to the effects of bias. Those studies that have been performed have included small numbers of participants and have focused on short‐term effects. Longer‐term data, and data showing a benefit in terms of survival, are lacking. There are insufficient data available at present to justify wide‐ranging changes to the current regulatory status of cannabis or synthetic cannabinoids.

Antenatal screening tests for the prevention and treatment of syphilis

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection caused by the bacterium Treponema pallidum. A major public health issue in developing countries, the condition develops over four stages and is potentially fatal if untreated. A pregnant woman with syphilis can transmit the infection to her baby, which may result in a severe condition in liveborn infants, stillbirth, or neonatal death. Syphilis infection can be transmitted by direct person‐to‐person contact via open sores on the lips, mouth, genitals and other areas, and during vaginal, anal or oral sexual intercourse. Open sores also increase the risk of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection. Universal syphilis screening within an existing antenatal care program has been advocated as an effective way to reduce syphilis‐associated adverse outcomes. However, despite decades of syphilis‐testing programs and substantial advances in screening technology, successful prevention and treatment of syphilis have been limited. This is largely due to delays in the identification and treatment of infected women. Technical and logistical difficulties with testing, lack of antenatal care, and poor‐quality services are possible contributing factors. It is therefore crucial to investigate available randomised controlled trials to determine which test strategies are most effective in developing countries.

Pregnancy and birth: HIV test in pregnancy

This information is intended to help during antenatal appointments and describes why all pregnant women in Germany are offered an HIV test. If you have further questions you can contact your local health department or other AIDS support center.The key points:HIV can be transmitted to babies during pregnancy, birth and breastfeeding.This makes it essential to detect any HIV infection as soon as possible. If treatment is started early enough there is a good chance that the baby can be kept from infection. Even when an HIV infection is first detected later in the pregnancy, treatment can still help to protect the baby.It is possible to have an anonymous HIV test.You have the right to have an HIV test. Of course, you can also choose not to have an HIV test.

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More about HIV/AIDS: Tests

Photo of a young adult man

See Also: Blood Tests

Other terms to know:
Antibodies, Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Immune System

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