One may undergo HIV testing at the National Center for AIDS Prevention (2 Acharyan St., Avan, Yerevan, Republic of Armenia) from Monday to Friday at 9:00-18:00) or at any other facilities providing voluntary testing and counseling services (antenatal clinics, some polyclinics, etc.). HIV testing is provided free of charge at the above-mentioned facilities. You can get tested without giving your name, if you prefer. This is called “anonymous” testing. The results will be shared only with you. It is guaranteed that the information will be confidential. It takes no much time to get tested for HIV. The results are usually provided within 1-2 days. You will be given HIV counseling before and after the testing. You can be provided psychological counseling if you wish.3 – 5 ml of blood should be collected for HIV testing. The blood sample is collected from vain with a disposable syringe. The time of food consumption does not matter.
The window period is the period between the time of HIV infection and the time an HIV test can detect HIV infection. During the window period, a person might be infected with HIV and transmit the virus to others, yet still test HIV-negative. That is why it is recommended to get HIV testing 3-6 months after probable infection, i.e. after practicing risky behavior. If you think you may have HIV, it is very important to take preventive measures within the first 6 months after probable exposure, when HIV status is still unknown. In particular, one should always use a condom during sexual contacts, refrain from donating blood as a donor, while women are advised to avoid pregnancy during that period.
HIV-negative result does not mean that there is no risk of HIV transmission for a person.
Test results may be positive and negative. HIV positive result means that there are HIV antibodies in the screened blood serum. This means that the tested person is HIV-positive. Negative result means that there are no HIV antibodies in the screened blood serum. This means that the tested person is HIV-negative. A person may be tested HIV negative in the following cases:
- A person is not HIV-infected,
- A person is HIV infected, but s/he “in the window period”,
- A person is at the stage of AIDS.
HIV testing allows confirm or deny the existence of HIV in the body. Many people don’t realize they have HIV because they feel fine. At first, a person with HIV will not have any visible symptoms. Moreover, an HIV–infected individual could have not any health problems and be unaware of his/her HIV positive status for many years (8-10 years on average).Laboratory testing is the only sure way to determine if you have HIV. The most common screening method for detecting HIV is Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA). When HIV enters a person’s body, the body begins to make HIV antibodies to fight of the infection. In 90-95% of cases by three months after infection, the body makes enough antibodies against HIV for an HIV antibody test to become positive. Most people (90-95%) will develop detectable antibodies within 3 months after initial HIV-infection, 5-9% of people – within 6 months, 0.5-1% – later (up to one year). These antibodies are detected by Enzyme Immunoassay.
All those people who have ever practiced risky behavior (used injecting drugs, had sex without a condom with casual partners, with people exhibiting unsafe behavior – persons who inject drugs, sex workers, men who have sex with men, those having more than one sex partner), who have STI, who has undergone interventions involving piercing of the skin or mucosa by non-sterile instruments or by instruments of dubious sterility.
HIV testing will allow making early HIV diagnostics. Being diagnosed early means you can get treatment earlier and have a better chance of living a long and healthy life. Also it helps to protect your loved ones. If an HIV-positive pregnant woman knows about her HIV status it will help to reduce the risk of HIV transmission to her baby. Knowledge of HIV infection enables people to make important changes to their lives, to take right decision about their sexual relationships and family planning.