FAQ

WHAT IS THE APTIMA HIV-1 RNA TEST FOR HIV AND HOW IS IT DIFFERENT FROM THE ELISA TEST ?

There is a “window period” which is the time it takes the body to produce antibodies after HIV infection has begun. For the vast majority of those who will test positive, antibodies to HIV will develop within 4-6 weeks after exposure. Some will take a little longer to develop antibodies. To make certain that you receive a reliable test result, it’s necessary to wait at least three months (13 weeks) after your last possible exposure to the virus before being tested.There are tests that can look for the virus—not antibodies—in the blood. Because the virus becomes detectable in the blood much sooner after infection than antibodies, these tests are an option for people who simply can’t wait 13 weeks to find out the results of standard ELISA/Western blot testing. And because there has been some encouraging research indicating that people who diagnose their HIV infection early—meaning the first weeks after infection, before antibodies become detectable—can protect their immune systems by starting treatment early, these tests are proving to be very useful for people who recently engaged in a high-risk activity (e.g., receptive anal sex without a condom) and fear they might have been infected.These tests look for fragments of HIV, either floating around freely in the bloodstream or inside cells in the bloodstream. Some tests—known as qualitative tests—yield a “positive” or “negative” result, meaning that the virus was or wasn’t found (GenProbe’s Aptima HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assayis the only test approved for this purpose).The APTIMA HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay is an in vitro nucleic acid assay system for the detection of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) in human plasma and serum (HIV and HIV 1 Screening). It is intended for use as an aid in the diagnosis of HIV-1 infection, including acute or primary infection. Presence of HIV-1 RNA in the plasma or serum of patients without antibodies to HIV-1 is indicative of acute or primary HIV-1 infection. The APTIMA HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay may also be used as an additional test, when it is reactive, to confirm HIV-1 infection in an individual whose specimen is repeatedly reactive for HIV-1 antibodies.

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DOES THIS HIV TEST PREVENT ME FROM GETTING HIV?

No, it does not. This test is only as good as the day your blood is drawn. A person could get tested today, and get HIV tomorrow, and still have a negative test until the next time they test in 30 days.

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WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM POSITIVE FOR CHLAMYDIA AND GONNORHEA? 


The Chlamydia & Gonorrhea test is done by urine. These results take 1-3 full days to come from the lab. If you are positive, you will be called by one of our staff. We will then call you in a prescription to your pharmacy. As a professional courtesy, we will ask you for your most recent partners, and offer to test and 
medicate them as well. If you have a private partner, they too must be medicated, as re-infection can occur if you are not both medicated. This test is so sensitive that you must wait a full six days to retest, because the test will come up positive as it is so sensitive, it picks up a copy of the dead virus. Once the test comes back with a negative result, you are able to return to work.

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HOW DO I GET MY RESULTS?

All results will be emailed to you. And if you request, in writing, we can also email to your agent.

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WHAT IS THE CONNECTION BETWEEN HIV AND OTHER SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES?

Having a sexually transmitted disease (STD) can increase a person’s risk of becoming infected with HIV. Having STDs that can cause open sores, such as herpes, is especially risky. STDs that do not cause open sores also pose a threat.

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What is an STD?

An STD stands for Sexually Transmitted Disease meaning exactly what it says. A disease that is commonly transmitted in a sexual manner either through intercourse anal or oral. There are many STDs that can be transmitted in other ways other than sexually but is generally rare.

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What are the Symptoms of STDs

While most STDs do show some kind of symptoms it’s very possible that symptoms may go unnoticed or might not exist at all. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms you should seek medical attention immediately because you may have an STD.

Dark or smelly urine – This could be a sign of a kidney infection or something more serious caused by Gonorrhea or Chlamydia or even a UTI. 
A secretion or discharge from a genital organ – This is a common symptom of Gonorrhea or Chlamydia. or . or . or . or . or . or . or . . or . or . . or . 
A strange rash or spots on your body – A rash may be a sign of Scabies or Crabs and Spots are a common sign of the second stage of Syphilis. 
A burning sensation when urinating – This could be a sign of Chlamydia or Gonorrhea and should be looked at immediately. 
Bumps, legions, blisters, or warts on the genital area – While bumps can be normal they may be something more serious and should be looked at as with warts and blisters which could be as you may already know symptoms of Herpes or Hpv.
An unusual odor – A normal sign of an infection similar to a UTI. 
White spots in pubic hair or small bugs – White spots in pubic hair are a sign of Crabs and could be a sign of Scabies

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Is there a cure for STDs?

Some STDs are curable if diagnosed at an early enough time while others have no cure and if you contract it, it will stay with you the rest of your life.

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How many people have STDs? 


The easiest answer is about 1 in 4 people have an STD but can be even more because some STDs can be treated at home such as Crabs and won’t end up being counted by medical providers.

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I Have an STD Did my partner cheat on me?

If you recently found out you have an STD and you have been in a monogamous with your relationship boyfriend or girlfriend and you have not cheated it doesn’t necessarily mean you partner has cheated on you, contracted an STD and given it to you. Many STDs can stay hidden with no symptoms for Years. So while Your partner may have given it to you they may have already contracted it before they were with you and it is now just becoming active in there and/or your body.

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How can I avoid contracting an STD?

It should be made more known that even with proper condom usage it is still very easily possible to contract an STD. That being said the only real way to stay clear from STDs, as I’m sure you’ve heard before, is to refrain from any sexual contact including oral. Other than that being in a monogamous relationship where no one cheats and both people have been tested for ALL STDS you would be fine but most places don’t test for all STDs and sometimes no matter how well you think you know someone sometimes things happen and they cheat so this is not really a fool proof way of being free and clear of STDs.

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Can I get an STD from Oral intercourse?

A common misconception is that you canot get an STD from giving or receiving oral intercourse. This is of course very untrue. There is Gonorrhea of the throat, Herpes, and Genital Warts of the mouth that can all easily be transmitted when engaging in acts of oral. It may also be possible to spread other STDs such as HIV, Syphilis, Crabs, or Scabies this way as well.

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Can I get an STD if I’m a Virgin?

If you are a virgin and you are not engaging in any sexual activity than you chances of getting an STD are very slim although not impossible. Sexual activity includes any touching of any “private part” either by you or your partner. Once engaged in any sexual activity your chances of contracting an STD goes up dramatically.

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Do all STDs have Symptoms?

While many STD symptoms can be prevalent in most cases there can be an unusual amount of times where the symptoms don’t show up for years or are so unnoticeable they go undetected. If you have had sexual relations with a partner it is important to be tested for all STDs to be sure.

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Are Condoms Effective Against All STDs?

Condoms are a great way to protect yourself while engaing in sexual acts but unfortunately aren’t that effective against all STDs.

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Can I get an STD even though my partner has no symptoms?

If your partner is infected with an STD the chances of contracting it are slightly lower when there are no symptoms present such as in HSV but they are still contagious and transmission of the disease is possible.

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Are cold sores really Herpes?

Yes cold sores on your mouth are a symptom of the Herpes Simplex Virus-1 and can be transmitted to the genitals as well as the mouth.

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Can I get an STD from kissing?

It is possible to contract certain STDs from kissing such as Herpes from kissing but with most STDs the chances are pretty slim, but still existent.

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Should I get tested for an STD?

Everyone that has engaged in any kind of sexual activity should be tested for all STDs on a regular basis to insure protection of yourself and future partners.

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Can I get an STD more than once?

If you have contracted and cleared up a bacterial infection such as Gonorrhea or Chlamydia once you finish treatment you are at risk of contracting the infection again. The Antibiotics you took to clear up the infection is just to cure it its not a vaccine.

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Can I get an STD from a public toilet?

There have been no studies that show STDs can be transmitted by contact with public toilets.

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What is syphilis? Is it curable?

Syphilis is a sexually transmitted infection (STI) caused by the bacterium Treponema Pallidum. Syphilis can cause serious damage to your heart or brain if not treated promptly.Yes, Syphilis CAN be cured! Because Syphilis is caused by bacteria, antibiotics (e.g. penicillin) rid the body of the infection.

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What are the symptoms of syphilis? What does it look like?

There are three stages of syphilis, each with its own symptoms. The first stage starts 3-12 weeks after you are infected. The first symptom is an open sore called a chancre (pronounced SHANK-er). The chancre is typically brownish-red and painless and usually appears on your genitals, in your mouth or inside your rectum or vagina. Although this sore goes away on its own after 1-5 weeks, a person who had a chancre still has syphilis.The second stage begins about 2-7 months after getting syphilis. Symptoms during this stage can include rashes (on the body, hands, or feet), mucous patches, patchy hair loss (alopecia), and clusters of hard, white warts which appear on the genitals. Like the chancre, these symptoms go away; however, the person still has syphilis.The third stage of syphilis, which can begin years after the time of the initial infection, may involve the loss of eyesight and hearing as well as heart disease and brain damage. Also, people who are HIV-positive sometimes progress to the third stage more quickly than those who do not have HIV.Sometimes people do not notice or recognize these symptoms. Think about it, if you had a syphilis chancre in your throat, that didn’t hurt, how would you know? Some folks ignore the symptoms, thinking they are “nothing really” or that they are something else, like an allergic reaction. Or maybe, perhaps, that sore on their penis is from an unfortunate “zipper accident.” (Think about it guys, wouldn’t you know FOR SURE if your penis had recently been in a fight with your zipper?) Finally, because visible symptoms eventually go away, it’s easy to think “whatever it was, it’s not a problem now….” These common misconceptions, and the fact that syphilis can become very serious (deadly) in its later stages, make it very important for sexually active people to get tested for syphilis on a routine basis.

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I think I have a symptom of syphilis. What should I do?

If you believe you have symptoms of syphilis, STOP having sex and get tested as soon as possible.Contact your medical provider.
Please note: if you infect someone else with syphilis and you have sex with them again after you have been treated, your chances of getting re-infected with syphilis dramatically increase if they have not been properly treated as well. So, if you think you have syphilis, for your own sake and the sake of others, please get tested. And get treated if necessary. It’s easy!

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How do people get syphilis? Will condoms protect me from getting syphilis?

You get syphilis from skin-to-skin contact with an open sore called a “chancre.” Syphilis, unlike HIV, is NOT passed by exposure to bodily fluids such as blood, semen, vaginal fluids, or breast milk. While it is possible to get syphilis just from rubbing genitals together or kissing if a sore is present on the genitals, on the lips, or on the tongue, you are much less likely to get syphilis from these activities than if you have unprotected oral, anal, or vaginal sex.Condoms only work where you use them, and work best when they are used properly. If you do not use a condom for oral sex, you are at risk for contracting syphilis. Also, remember that if the sore is not covered by the condom your partner is wearing, or if the bare skin beyond the condom you are wearing touches the sore, you can get syphilis even though you are using condoms.
If you are sexually active, you can help protect yourself from syphilis by:using condoms!
checking your sex partners for signs of syphilis, such as sores and rashes!
asking them if they have/had syphilis!
making regular testing for syphilis part of your routine.

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What is a syphilis test like?

A syphilis test requires a simple blood draw, like a traditional HIV test. Sometimes people prefer to get both an HIV test and a syphilis test at the same time because of this.If the result is positive, the test gives a ratio that relates to the amount of antibodies in your blood.If you are symptomatic, it is very important to be treated immediately because you are most infectious while symptomatic. If you test positive but are not showing any symptoms, it is still very important to get treated.

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Should I get a test? How often should I test?

If you have symptoms of syphilis, you are encouraged to be tested and treated as soon as possible. If you are sexually active, make syphilis testing part of your routine. We encourage you to get tested for syphilis every six months. Some folks may want to consider more frequent testing. For instance, a number of medical providers urge sexually active individuals with HIV to get tested for syphilis every three months.

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Why?

Syphilis makes it easier to get or give HIV, 3 to 5 times easier in fact. And syphilis can advance very rapidly in HIV-positive people. These dangers can be avoided with regular testing and, if necessary, treatment. Please talk with a medical provider for more specific recommendations.

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How is syphilis treated? Where can I get treatment?


Syphilis is normally treated with one dose of benzathine penicillin. For those who are HIV-positive, the recommended treatment is three doses. If you are allergic to penicillin, the treatment is an oral antibiotic called Doxycycline. Your medical provider can provide treatment. Many clinics that test for syphilis also provide treatment.
I have/had syphilis.

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Should my partners be tested or treated?


If you recently had syphilis or have syphilis right now, all or your sex partners (i.e. anyone with whom you had oral, anal or vaginal sex, with or without condoms) from the last three months should be tested for syphilis and treated, even if their test comes back negative. This is because the incubation period for syphilis is three months. In other words, you can have a negative result on your syphilis test for up to three months, but still have syphilis in your body.Any sex partners you have had prior to three months ago should be tested only. They do not need to be treated unless their test comes back positive.If you have syphilis, it’s incredibly important that you tell your partner(s). Just thinking about it probably makes you cringe. Your feelings of discomfort are very understandable; however, if you don’t tell your partner(s), you might end up dealing with even more serious consequences. Untreated partners could potentially develop life-threatening health problems. They could also infect someone else or even re-infect you. Syphilis isn’t like chicken pox – you can get syphilis again.Keep in mind that no one intentionally gives another person syphilis. A person with syphilis often has no obvious symptoms or has symptoms (i.e. mouth ulcer, hair loss, rashes) that they can easily mistake for a more harmless condition.

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There IS a very important link between syphilis, as well as other sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and HIV. Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that people are more likely to become infected with HIV when other STDs are present. This is because some STDs, like syphilis, cause lesions or sores that can serve as a way for HIV to enter a person’s body. Other common STDs, like gonorrhea or chlamydia, can irritate sensitive membranes in the penis, vagina, or anus. This irritation can make it easier for a person to become infected with HIV if they have unprotected sex with a person who is HIV positive.

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