Who coined the acronym AIDS

AIDS and HIV

Taking an HIV test makes sense if infection is within the realm of possibility. Even at the beginning of the pregnancy, the doctor offers the expectant mother an HIV test as part of the preventive care to avoid possible transmission to the child. It takes no longer than a normal blood count and is basically nothing more than a blood test. Anyone who is concerned about being infected can have an AIDS test done by doctors and some AIDS organizations. Many health authorities also offer such tests - often anonymously. Depending on the facility, there may be a small fee for the HIV test. When it can be carried out depends on the test. A so-called search test for antibodies usually shows something at the earliest six weeks after infection, and direct detection of the virus in the blood (PCR test) is possible one to two weeks after infection.

Doctors test twice so that the pathogen can be proven beyond doubt: First, they look for antibodies. These are components of the immune system that are formed in response to certain pathogens, in this case HI viruses. Almost every infection can be detected with such a search test, also known as the Elisa test, but in rare cases it gives a positive result even though the person to be tested is not infected at all. Doctors call this a "false positive result". To prevent this from happening, the Elisa test is followed by a confirmatory test, usually even another blood test.

In the next step, doctors look for antigens of the virus in the blood. These can only be detected around six weeks after the infection. If this test is also positive, i.e. if antibodies and antigens are present, doctors diagnose HIV-positive. If the result is “HIV negative”, this is unfortunately no guarantee that you have not been infected. The reason: It can take up to three months for antibodies to form in the blood after an infection.

Another method to detect an HIV infection is the so-called PCR test. It is one of the most accurate, but also one of the most expensive AIDS tests. As early as 15 days after an infection, he can prove whether there is genetic material of the virus in the blood. So it is a direct virus detection, not an antibody test. It can also determine the amount of virus in the blood, so doctors often use it to check the success of HIV therapy.

AIDS test at the family doctor

Any resident doctor, for example the family doctor, can carry out the HIV laboratory test. However, when testing for HIV, the doctor bills the blood count as an individual health service; the patient has to pay for it himself. The test usually costs no more than 50 euros. Patients can be tested anonymously and free of charge in the health authorities.