The human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, is the virus that causes AIDS that weakens the immune system. This virus is transmitted through blood and sexual relations or even from mother to child during pregnancy, childbirth or breastfeeding. The only way to know if you have HIV infection is to get tested.
It is estimated that 25,000 people in Canada are carriers of HIV but do not know it. Half of the discoveries of seropositivity (52%) concerned people who said they had never been tested before. This ignorance is fueling the epidemic. Screening for HIV infection is therefore essential to know if you are infected with the virus.
The screening test is a biological test that you can order from your doctor. This test is 100% reimbursed by the Health Insurance if it is performed in a laboratory on medical prescription. It is free in the free information, screening and diagnostic centers.
The screening and diagnostic centers allow those who wish to “get tested” for free and without having to give their name. They primarily screen for HIV, but also for other STIs (sexually transmitted infections). The public and free screening offer is important, spread over 13 sites and numerous associations involved in screening with very innovative actions closer to the populations. Using the home std test is important there.
HIV Testing Methods
There are three methods of screening for HIV: HIV serology, the Rapid Diagnostic Orientation Test (TROD) and the HIV infection self-test (ADVIH).
HIV serology consists of a blood test carried out in the laboratory and which allows the blood to be tested for the presence of anti-HIV-1 and anti-HIV-2 antibodies, a sign of infection. If a very recent infection less than 3 weeks old is suspected, a direct search for the virus is possible.
The Rapid Diagnostic Orientation Test (TROD)
TROD screening does not constitute a medical biology examination. It is complementary to serological screening. In Canada, AIDES is one of the associations that receive funds to carry out TRODs (Rapid Diagnostic Orientation Test). This rapid detection test is a non-medical act performed by trained activists.
In practice, a drop of blood is taken from the finger. It is then put in contact with a reagent which allows you to know if you are still protected by your antibodies against HIV. If this is not the case, you are referred to a confirmatory HIV test (by blood test), carried out in a laboratory.
Self-test for HIV infection (ADVIH)
Sold in pharmacies without a prescription, the HIV infection self-test is a rapid test that can be used by anyone wishing to test themselves at home and in complete confidentiality. The self-test must result from a free, enlightened and autonomous choice of the interested party who carries out the sampling and interpretation himself.
Currently, only two HIV self-tests have a CE marking imposed by European regulations. They are available in pharmacies and are not reimbursed by health insurance. Certain associations in the fight against HIV authorized by the government can, in certain cases, provide free self-tests to people outside the health system. Health Insurance provides funding.