HIV Screening Treatment

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HIV Screening in Singapore

HIV Screening in Singapore

What Is HIV?

The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that damages the body’s immune system, rendering the body too weak to fight off infections and diseases effectively. If left untreated, HIV progresses into an advanced stage called acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), whereby the immune system is severely compromised. AIDS is a chronic and potentially life-threatening condition, so prevention in the form of HIV screenings and treatment is key.

Currently, there is no cure for HIV, but treatments such as antiretroviral therapy can alleviate symptoms and keep the virus under control, allowing patients to lead normal, healthier and longer lives. HIV screening in Singapore aims to catch the virus as early as possible and prevent it from developing into AIDS.

What Causes HIV?

HIV is caused by a virus that can be transmitted through contact with the bodily fluid of an infected individual, including blood, semen, vaginal fluids, anal mucus and breastmilk. Activities that can spread HIV include:

  1. Having unprotected sexual intercourse with an HIV-positive individual
  2. Sharing needles and syringes with an HIV-positive individual
  3. Mother-to-infant transmission via pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding
  4. Blood transfusions using blood from someone with HIV

HIV, however, is not transmitted through saliva, urine or sweat. You cannot get HIV by holding hands, sharing eating and drinking utensils, sharing toilet seats, from mosquitoes and other insects, and through the air or water.

We believe in universal HIV screening, with various testing tools available to cater for a wide range of patients. All tests are conducted accordingly to the latest published guidelines.

What are the Symptoms of HIV?

A HIV infection does not always present symptoms. If a person does develop symptoms for HIV, it most often appears between 3 to 6 weeks after infections.

People who have contracted HIV will present flu-like symptoms 2 to 4 weeks after infection. These symptoms include:

  1. Fever and chills
  2. Night sweats
  3. Rashes
  4. Sore throat
  5. Muscle and joint pain
  6. Fatigue
  7. Mouth ulcers
  8. Swollen lymph nodes

Ultimately, the only way to confirm whether you have HIV is to undergo HIV screening in Singapore, especially if you are at higher risk of potentially getting it.

Because symptoms are unreliable and often do not develop in many patients, the most reliable way to determine if a person has been infected with HIV is still via screening tests.

How Do HIV Tests in Singapore Work?

HIV tests work by detecting antibodies, p24 antigens, or the presence of HIV in the blood. Generally, these factors are only detectable within a specified time frame depending on the type of test performed. This is why doctors recommend taking multiple tests during the appropriate window period in order to ensure accurate results.

There are three main types of HIV tests in Singapore:

  1. HIV Antibody Test (ELISA test) – This test offers conclusive results at >90% accuracy when performed 1 month after exposure. A confirmatory test is usually then performed 3 months later for more accurate results, with a specificity of >99%. This involves a blood test which is used to detect the presence of HIV antibodies. Antibodies are produced as the immune system’s response to HIV infection.
  2. HIV 4th Generation Test (HIV Combo) – This test can also provide conclusive results and can be administered as early as 28 days after exposure. This blood test detects both the presence of HIV antibodies and p24 antigens, which are proteins from the virus itself.
  3. HIV RNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Test – This test looks directly for HIV RNA or DNA in the blood and can be performed as soon as around 9 to 11 days after exposure. This is usually recommended for patients who have had a recent high-risk exposure or as a confirmatory test for other HIV tests.

When Should You Get Tested for HIV?

Typically, HIV infections can present symptoms in 2-4 weeks after exposure. However, there are cases where it presents little to no symptoms, especially in the early weeks following infection. Therefore, HIV screening in Singapore is crucial to determine whether or not an HIV infection is present.

There are several tests performed to detect HIV, such as the HIV RNA PCR test and the HIV Combo test. These tests can be done by collecting blood or saliva samples from the patient. While rapid HIV tests can deliver faster results, doctors generally recommend taking lab-based screenings for greater accuracy.

The type of test done is determined by the time from when a person could have been infected with HIV. If the potential HIV infection was:

  • < 3 days ago – do not think about testing. Instead, talk to our doctor about HIV post0exposure prophylaxis (PEP) to reduce the risk of infection following a possible exposure.
  • 10 to 28 days ago – the HIV RNA PCR test is recommended as a conclusive test. Blood is drawn from the arm and sent to the lab. It may take several days to get results.
  • 28 to 90 days ago – the HIV 4th Generation (aka HIV Combo) Test is recommended as a conclusive test. This is done in the HIV clinic via a fingerprick. It takes several minutes to get results.
  • > 90 days ago – the HIV 3rd Generation Test is recommended as a conclusive test. This is done in the HIV screening clinic via a fingerprick. It takes several minutes to get results.

Seamless integration with HIV care

Multiple methods to screen

Minimal waiting with quick test results

FAQs About HIV Screening in Singapore

What is the HIV window period?
Where can I get tested for HIV in Singapore?
What happens if you test HIV positive in Singapore?
What should I do if I test positive for HIV?
Are there any side effects of HIV treatments?

What are the Treatments for HIV?

What are the Treatments for HIV?

Getting infected with HIV is no longer a death sentence, with many people living with HIV leading healthy, productive and meaningful lives.

HIV is now a chronic disease that can be well managed with medication not much different from diabetes or high blood pressure.

The infection can be brought under good control with medication. Getting the infection under control also eliminates the risk of passing the HIV on to another person.

People living with HIV who maintain an undetectable viral load have the same life expectancy as someone without HIV.

The cost of managing HIV has also reduced significantly. Anti-retroviral medications used to treat HIV are now much more affordable.

Even though a person living with HIV may feel completely well for years, it is recommended to start HIV treatment in Singapore as soon as possible. This is because even though it may not cause any symptoms in the first few years, an HIV infection causes chronic inflammation in the body and can cause health problems later in life.

Rest assured that Dr Tan will take you step by step through the HIV treatment process.

Reduce the possibility of passing HIV

Effectively manage HIV symptoms

Protect those around you with qualified advice

“Every patient deserves our fullest attention.”

If you have any queries, please contact us at 6513 0359 or use the contact form below.

Dr Tan Medical Centre

10 Sinaran Drive #09-30, Novena Medical Centre, Singapore 307506

Tel: (+65) 6513 0359 WhatsApp: (+65) 9750 5037

Operating Hours:

Monday to Friday: 8:30 AM to 6:30 PM

Saturday: 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM

Closed on Sundays and Public Holidays