Also known as the human immunodeficiency virus, HIV is a sexually transmitted infection that weakens a person’s immune system by destroying cells that fight disease and infection. At the end of 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimated that around 1.2 million people in the United States had HIV.
Currently, there is no effective cure for HIV. However, if it’s detected early, it can be controlled and those who contract it can go on to live healthy lives. HIV is typically diagnosed using a blood test that checks for antibodies. This test can be done with your doctor, or if you would prefer, you can test from home with LetsGetChecked’s at-home HIV testing options.
How can I test myself for HIV?
Early detection and treatment are crucial when it comes to slowing and/or preventing the progression of HIV; if the virus is left untreated, it will continue to harm the immune system which is why, if you believe you may have contracted HIV, detecting it early is crucial.
One common type of HIV test is a blood test which checks for specific antibodies in your blood; when you have been exposed to viruses like HIV, your body creates antibodies - this test can be taken with your doctor or from home with an at-home lab test. No HIV test can detect HIV immediately after exposure, so if you think you have been exposed in the past 72 hours, it’s important to reach out to your health care provider.
LetsGetChecked’s at-home HIV testing options involve a simple finger prick sample and detect some of the most common sexually transmitted infections.
The test will arrive in discreet packaging with a return envelope and clear instructions inside. Online test results will be available within 2-5 days and our dedicated clinical team will be available throughout the process for support and guidance and will be available to speak with you about your results and the next steps you should take. If you would like more detail about the sampling process, find out more here.
How is HIV spread?
Only certain bodily fluids from a person who already has the virus can spread HIV - these include blood, semen, pre-seminal fluids, rectal fluids, vaginal fluids, and breast milk. For this reason, HIV is known to primarily spread through sexual contact and needle or syringe use.
What is usually the first sign of HIV?
HIV symptoms vary depending on the phase of infection. Within two four weeks of the virus entering the body, people may experience flu-like symptoms - these can be so mild that you might not even notice them.
Indicators to keep note of during the primary infection phase include:
- Muscle aches and joint pain
- Sore throat and painful mouth sores
- Swollen lymph glands, mainly on the neck
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
It’s important to know that many people may not experience symptoms of HIV, meaning they might not be aware that they’re infected - this is why getting tested is so important. If you would prefer to test in the privacy of your own home, the best way to check for HIV from home is with an at-home STI test. The process is simple:
- The test is shipped directly to you by next day delivery
- Activate your test and answer a few health-related questions
- Your health record will be reviewed by a medical team member and should you need any support services, they will be provided
- Collect your sample at a time that suits you
- Send your sample back to our laboratory using the pre-paid shipping label provided
- Your sample will be processed in an anonymous and timely manner
- Your results will be reviewed by our team of doctors. A member of our nursing team will contact you to deliver your results, discuss any next steps and offer prescriptions in some cases
You should take the LetsGetChecked STI Test if:
- You’ve become sexually active
- You’ve had unprotected sex
- You’re experiencing symptoms of a sexually transmitted infection
- You’re entering into a new sexual relationship
- You’ve received a notification from a previous partner that they are infected (STIs can remain dormant for years or take up to three weeks to become detectable.)