The HIV self-test comes to pharmacies without a prescription. We tell you what it is, how it works and who should do it.
It is estimated that there are 145,000 HIV-positive people in Spain. 20% of those infected by HIV, do not know their status, so in Spain, there are about 30,000 people who are asymptomatic carriers and therefore are not aware that they can transmit the infection. On December 1 of each year, the World Day for the Fight against AIDS is celebrated to make visible this disease surrounded by social stigmas.
And, these people (the carriers but asymptomatic), having no symptoms, do not access treatment until advanced stages of the disease, and sometimes when they are already “AIDS case”, which means that your immune system is very damaged which reduces their quality of life.
According to the National AIDS Registry (November 2017), there are 86,663 cases of AIDS in our country since the beginning of the epidemic (1981). In 2016 (latest published data), 607 cases were reported.
12.6% of people who developed AIDS in 2016 contracted the infection by sharing injection material for parenteral drug administration.
Importance of early HIV diagnosis
The National Plan on AIDS has been proposed to promote early diagnosis and reduce the incidence of HIV infection with the collaboration of pharmacies.
In December 2017, the regulations were modified to be able to sell the first HIV self-test in pharmacies.
Should I get tested for HIV?
It is advisable to take the test if you have maintained any of the following risk practices:
- Having shared puncture material such as syringes.
- If you have a stable partner and want to stop using the condom.
What is the window period?
It is important to know that this HIV test is reliable if the risk practice occurred at least three months before performing the test, to ensure a sufficient amount of antibodies that can guarantee a positive result.
In some people in 2-8 weeks after infection, there is already a sufficient number of antibodies for the test to detect, but it is always better to wait 3 months after the last risk practice so that the negative result is completely definitive.
How the HIV test works
The autotest HIV is very simple to use and the result is obtained in 15 minutes. The kit contains everything you need to perform the test:
- Test device, which includes a cap with a buffer solution.
- Disinfectant wipe