HIV Test FAQ
HIV PCR Test FAQ
When should I test for HIV?
HIV screening is all about timing. The right test at the right time means accuracy.
If your exposure was 10 to 12 days ago, you should do the HIV RNA PCR.
Results may take 1 to 2 weeks.
If your exposure was 28 days ago, you should do the HIV P24 Ag/Ab Combo test.
This test is done in the clinic and results take 20 minutes.
If your exposure was 3 months or more ago, you should do the HIV Antibody Rapid Test.
This test can be done with either blood or saliva.
This test is done in the clinic and takes 20 minutes.
Also, test for HIV if you develop symptoms of Fever, Muscle Aches, Rashes, Sore Throat and Enlarged Lymph Nodes. Please remember that these symptoms are not present in everyone with HIV so please go for screening if you think you are at risk even though you do not have any symptoms.
Should I also test for other STDs?
If you have been exposed to HIV then it is very likely that you have been exposed to other STDs. Because of this, we highly recommend that you also screen for other STDs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia, Hepatitis, Herpes and Warts.
What are the symptoms of HIV?
The earliest symptoms of HIV appear at about 3 weeks after exposure. The most common symptoms are Fever, Muscle Aches, Rashes, Sore Throat and Enlarged Lymph Nodes. These symptoms usually disappear after 2 weeks.
Please remember that these symptoms are not present in everyone with HIV so please go for screening if you think you are at risk even though you do not have any symptoms.
HIV then remains silent for many years until it causes AIDS.
What is PEP?
It is a regimen of medications that can prevent the onset of HIV in people who have had very high-risk exposure to HIV. It MUST be started within 72 hours of exposure.
Have you been exposed to HIV infected fluids?
Have you had a high risk sexual contact with a high risk partner?
Did your condom break?
If any of these occurred in the last 72 hours, do not hesitate. See Our Doctors at Our Clinics now.
What if the Rapid Test is positive for HIV?
We will draw a blood sample and send it to the laboratory for a confirmatory test called a Western Blot. This test will STILL BE ANONYMOUS.
The Western Blot test will take 2 to 3 weeks for results.
What if the Western Blot test is positive for HIV?
This confirms a HIV infection.
Our doctor will counsel you on the various treatment options available.
Everything up to this point is STILL ANONYMOUS. You are NOT REQUIRED to disclose any personal information.
What if I choose to disclose my personal information?
You may choose to disclose you personal data purely on a VOLUNTARY BASIS or if you choose to attain treatment at the Singapore Communicable Diseases Centre.
If you do so, these are the notification requirements in accordance with the Infectious Diseases Act of Singapore:
• HIV positive people are required by law to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners before engaging in sexual intercourse.
• HIV positive people are recommended to disclose their HIV status to medical and dental personnel performing invasive procedures on them.
• The HIV positive person is encouraged to get his/her sexual partners and others who might be exposed (such as children of HIV positive mothers) to test.
• The person will also be referred to the Communicable Disease Centre (CDC) of Tan Tock Seng, which is the national referral center for HIV/AIDS for further management.
• Apart from the above situations, no one (including employers and other family members) will be notified, as the Infectious Disease Act protects the identity of HIV infected people and prohibits the unwarranted disclosure of information, which can identify someone as being HIV positive.
What if I find out I’m HIV positive?
Do not panic.
HIV is not a death sentence. You still can lead a very productive and normal life while living with HIV.
Modern medicines are extremely effective in controlling the disease. HIV can be managed as a chronic disease.
You will need to see a doctor and have some tests done. If your immune system is still healthy you do not even need to start taking any medicines.
If you choose to see a doctor in Singapore to get treated for HIV, you will be required to disclose your personal information.
Alternatively, we can help you make arrangements with our various international partner hospitals for you to seek treatment outside of Singapore. Please speak to us to find out more.
Too Worried to Wait?
The FASTEST way to find out if you have been infected with HIV or not to do the HIV PCR Test 12 days after the potential exposure.
The next earliest accurate test is the HIV Combo test at 28 days post exposure.
All other HIV tests are subject to a 3 months window period. In other words, you have to wait for 3 months before knowing for sure if you have been infected with HIV or not. In this time, you can potentially spread it to your sexual partners without even realizing it.
HIV PCR Test FAQ
What is HIV PCR?
What is it used for?
It is a blood test that is used to determine the amount of HIV virus in a person’s blood.
The PCR test is very useful to find a very recent infection 10 to 12 days post exposure, determine if an HIV infection is present when antibody test results were uncertain, and screen blood or organs for HIV before donation.
When can I take the PCR test?
The PCR test can be taken as early as 10 to 12 days after exposure to HIV.
If it is still within 72 hours since your exposure to HIV please find out more about PEP.
How do I take the PCR test?
You do not need to fast for this test.
The results will be available in about 1 to 2 weeks. The lab can expedite the results to within a week for a surcharge of $100.
What is the accuracy of the HIV PCR test?
It is 100% accurate if done 10 days after exposure.
False positive results are more common than false negatives due to the PCR test’s sensitivity, so all positive results must be double checked using a standard antibody test.
Also, the HIV PCR test can only test for HIV 1.
What is the difference between HIV 1 and 2?
At the Autumn conference of the British HIV Association in November 2007, Dr Kamal Mansinho from the Egas Moniz Hospital, Lisbon, Portugal gave an overview of HIV-2 and how it differed from HIV-1.
His main points were that HIV-2 is a less virulent, less aggressive and less harmful virus than HIV-1, with a five to nine fold lower probability of its sexual transmission
HIV 2 is almost exclusively found in West Africa and a person is at risk only if he or she has a high-risk exposure to a West African who is known to be HIV positive.
Can I also test for other STDs at the same time?
Yes. In fact, we encourage testing for other STDs during the same visit as your PCR test.
It will give you complete peace of mind once all the STDs have been tested for and if necessary, treated.
Also, it will save you from coming back on a separate occasion for STD screening and suffer another needle poke.
You can walk into our clinic anytime without an appointment.
All Our Doctors are Fully Certified and Trained to conduct specialised HIV Testing.
Feel free to visit Our Clinics and speak to Our Doctors to learn more.
We are Open on Weekends.
If you had a high risk exposure to HIV within the past 72 hours, you can take medicines to reduce your risk of actually contracting HIV.
Find out more on HIV PEP Treatment.
If you need a HIV test visit Our Clinics anytime during our opening hours. You do not need an appointment.
Find out more about Anonymous HIV testing at our clinics.
Can’t wait for 3 months to find out? Find out more about Anonymous Rapid HIV Combo test at our clinics.
Or find out more about HIV symptoms.
If you feel that you are at risk, please contact us to make an appointment for the HIV testing/screening.