Friday, August 22, 2008

Are you HIV positive?

HIV or human immunodeficiency virus is a retrovirus which causes AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). It actually belongs to lentivirus which is sometimes called as "slow virus" due to the long incubation period. It can take 7 to 12 years .

HIV is transmitted by:
-unprotected sex
-use of contaminated needles or syringe
-needle pricks for health care workers
-blood transfusion of an infected blood or blood products.
-perinatal or vertical transmission (pregnant woman to her fetus during pregnancy, delivery)
-organ donation from patients infected with HIV
-There are no documented cases of HIV being transmitted by tears or saliva, but it is said that it may be possible to be infected with HIV through oral sex or in rare cases through deep kissing, especially if you have open sores in your mouth or bleeding gums

What are the Ways to Diagnose Whether I'm Positive or Not?
When HIV infection takes place, anti-HIV bodies are produced but they are not detected immediately. This is called the "window" effect.
Basically, two most common ways of screening and confirming for HIV are:

1. ELISA- Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay (screening)
2. Western Blot --confirmatory test

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