About a month ago, i personally take a HIV test. Reason? Cause i’m a medical student. For you who have been following my website since last year, probably you already knew that i was a medical student in one of the best University in Indonesia. As medstud, i’ve met various type of patient. From a patient with simple illness, such as cold fever and sore throat, to a severely infectious disease such as Hepatitis, AIDS and my else.
Because of that, i become a high risk personal in the face of HIV. So after i finished all my study (which is exactly 2 month ago), i decided to screen my self for infectious disease. And of course HIV is on my list. The test was simple, it only takes 2 hours and i got my result. Thank god, that my serological test show a non-reactive result or in other word i’m HIV free.
In this post, i will share to you why you should take the test and all the thing you have to know about HIV/AIDS.
Probably all of you already knew what is HIV. Yes, it is a virus that attack our immune system, to be exact it attacks CD4+ T cell, an immune cell that play important role in activating our body’s defend system. While AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) is the name of the disease cause by HIV.
This virus can spread from one person to another by a direct contact with body fluid such as blood, sperm and vaginal discharge except saliva.
Once the virus is in a human body, it will take about 5 to 10 years until it cause a immune disease to the host. And it need at least 3 months prior to the exposure before the virus become detectable with medical test.
High Risk Population
HIV can infect everyone, no exceptions. However, there are several group of people that can be categorized as a high risk population.
1. Sexually Active Individual
Every person who have experienced sexual activity (even only one time) is considered to be a high risk individual. Even though he or she use a safety device (condom). Because there is still a slight possibility that the condom was not 100% functional.
2. Male to Male Sexual Activity
Based on the evidence, population with a high male to male sexual activity have a higher prevalence of AIDS. Therefore medical board around the world classify this people as a high risk population.
3. Blood Transfusion
Person who have received a blood transfusion also considered to be a high risk individual. Because there is a direct contact of other person bodily fluid to the one who receives it.
4. Drug User
Drug user, especially those who use injected drug, is definitely in a high risk of HIV infection.
Taking The Test
Now i would like to share about Voluntary Counseling Test (VCT). VCT is a medical test to check your HIV status. This test, as the name implied, is voluntary. Means that your Doctor won’t test you unless you ask for it (except for several emergencies cases).
For some countries, VCT become a national program, they subsidize some money to it. And that lower the cost for HIV test. So every people can do it with affordable price.
For example, as i told you in the beginning of this post that i’ve just took my VCT test. And it only cost me 11000 rupiahs (Indonesian currency) or less than one dollar USA.
The test is consist of pre-test counseling where the medical staff will ask few question to determine whether you are high risk or not, and the probability of false negative result of the test. Then they will take your blood for HIV serological test. The result will available in about 2 to 3 hours after. And the last step is post test counseling, if your test result is non-reactive/negative and you are not in a window period of HIV infection, you may go home. However, if your test is positive/reactive, the physician will give you a medical advice (including prevention so you wont infect others) and will guide you for the medical treatment.
Now its up to you whether to take it or not. But one thing for sure, nobody know your HIV status until a proper test is done. A good friend of mine said “if you really sure that you are clean, why should you afraid to take the test ?”.