Hottest at the Start (content safe for work)
Acute HIV: It’s Hottest at the Start
During the first couple of months after infection, HIV is a powerhouse in the sack. In this early “acute” stage of HIV, it is much easier to pass on the virus. If you have anal sex without condoms and aren’t completely sure of your partner’s HIV status, get tested. Now you can get an accurate HIV test 10 days after risky sex.
The best way to avoid HIV infection is to use condoms when having anal sex by someone whose HIV status you don’t know. For a list of locations that provide free condoms, click here.
Things You Should Know About Acute HIV & HIV Testing
Acute HIV infection is the first phase of HIV infection. It begins when a person is infected with HIV and lasts for about two months. When a person first gets HIV, the amount of HIV in his blood, semen, and other bodily fluids gets very high within a few days, as the HIV virus is replicating itself very quickly at this point.
A person with acute HIV infection is much more likely to transmit HIV to others if they are having anal sex without condoms during this time.
The early HIV test can detect HIV during the acute infection phase. The best test for detecting acute HIV infection is the early HIV test (also known as NAAT/RNA testing). This test is available to guys over the age of 18 at several clinics in Vancouver, including the HIM Sexual Health Centre. The test is easy: a small blood sample is collected, sent to a lab, and results are available in about a week.
The early HIV test looks for the HIV virus itself, whereas other HIV tests usually look for antibodies. Most people will have enough of the virus in their blood 10 to 12 days after being infected for the early test to detect HIV infection.
If you think you may have been exposed to HIV through risky sex, or via a broken condom, you can reduce your chance of becoming HIV-positive – but you need to act quickly. PEP, or post-exposure prophylaxis, is HIV medication given to people soon after they are exposed to HIV to reduce the chance of becoming HIV-positive. Click here to learn more about PEP.
You can now get an accurate HIV test 10 days after risky sex. If you have anal sex without condoms and aren’t completely sure of your partner’s HIV status, get tested today.