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Learn the Advantages of HIV Testing in Singapore

    Currently, millions of people all over the world are living with HIV. Human immunodeficiency virus or HIV is a virus that invades and compromises the body’s natural layer of protection against diseases: the immune system. HIV attacks the immune system to the point where it cannot fight infection anymore. It is a serious medical condition that can affect people regardless of gender, sexual orientation, and age. The most advanced stage of the virus, also known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), can be fatal if left untreated. At The Health Advisory Clinic, medications and facilities needed for the HIV treatment as well as a professional team of healthcare providers are available. HIV that is managed and treated by health experts can be prevented from advancing to AIDS.

    According to recent studies, an estimated one in seven people with HIV are not aware that they are infected with it and these undiagnosed individuals are the leading cause of up to 40% of new infections every year. With such a staggeringly high number,the need to get tested for HIV becomes paramount.

    Testing is the only way to tell if a person has HIV. A simple HIV test is done by collecting blood sample from a tiny finger prick or by taking a saliva swab, neither of which is painful. Home test kits are also available for more convenience. The frequency of getting tested for HIV varies for each individual. Most doctors recommend being tested at least once a year if a person engages in sexual activity (oral, anal, or vaginal) with different partners, had sexual contact with another person who is HIV positive or is undiagnosed, shared needles or syringes with others, or has been diagnosed with tuberculosis, hepatitis, or a sexually transmitted diseases (STD) such as syphilis.

    Unfortunately for the majority of people, it takes years before they know that they have HIV. If you believe that you have been exposed to any risk factor, the best thing to do is to get an HIV-antibody test as soon as possible. Early detection is vitaland the advantages are plentiful:

    1. If detected at an early stage, it is easier to manage the infection because your immune system is still strong.
    2. Early HIV diagnosis and treatment means that the negative side effects from medications will be minimized and in turn, there is a higher long-term survival rate for the individual.
    3. In case a person finds out about the HIV infection when they are already experiencing the illness, it is possible to regain health and strength in a person’s immune system once antiretroviral treatment is taken. This medication is proven to prevent the virus from spreading and can help your already weakened immune system a chance to recover.
    4. Early detection can stop the transmission of the virus to others. It is every person’s obligation to his or her sexual partner not to infect them. If you are aware of your and your partner’s status, it builds the trust in your relationship. It also allows you to practice protected sex to safeguard the health of one another.
    5. Avoid re-infection. An HIV-positive person can still be reinfected with the virus and in case this happens, the disease ravages the body at a faster, more ferocious pace and puts the person at a greater risk of being resistant to treatments. Having a resistant virus means that there is a lesser chance for effective treatment.

    HIV testing in Singapore is promoted as part of good health habits. Getting regular tests and being aware of your status mean that you value not just your own health but the sexual health of your partners, too. If you tested positive for the infection, using condoms is extremely crucial to prevent HIV transmission. Antiretroviral medications will also help reduce the HIV levels in your body, which lessens the rate of transmission to other people. Effective and continuous antiretroviral treatments is proven to lower the level of HIV that it falls into an ‘undetectable’ level – meaning the virus is not detected in normal blood tests. Once the doctor confirms this, then it is good news for you: you cannot pass HIV through sex anymore. However, it is important to bear in mid that you still need to monitor your body’s viral load and make sure that it stays at the ‘undetectable’ level.

    The decision to get tested for HIV is a very personal one, thus no other person can make it for you. An HIV testing should always be confidential and more importantly, it should have your full consent. Aside from the doctor, no other individual will know the results of your testunless you decide to share it with them. Telling your partner (or partners) that you have HIV is not easy, but it is necessary. If you need more information or counselling, you can visit The Health Advisory Clinic. We will be more than glad to provide professional advice and support to our patients.