HIV Testing Options
We have a range of HIV testing options in Asia. Which one you should choose depends on when you were potentially exposed.
- Our 4th generation, 28 Day HIV DUO Test is available for exposures that occurred at least 28 days ago.
- Our HIV RNA PCR Test is appropriate just 10 days after potential exposure.
What is the difference between HIV and AIDS?
HIV is the virus that causes AIDS. Should a chronic or long-term HIV infection continue to go untreated, you can then be diagnosed with Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). An early diagnosis should prevent HIV from reaching this latent stage and the best way to be certain of your sexual health status is to get tested.
Is HIV Easily transmitted?
HIV is transmitted by body fluids from someone who has HIV to someone who is not. The body fluids that can transmit HIV include:
- Semen & Pre-Seminal Fluid
- Breast Milk
- Vaginal Secretions
The bodily fluids that cannot transmit HIV include:
How is HIV passed on?
HIV can be passed on through sexual and non-sexual contact.
Sexual transmission is occurs when someone with HIV has sex with someone who does not. It can be passed on through vaginal, anal and oral sex.
If an infected man has unprotected vaginal sex (without a condom) with a woman, he can pass on the virus to her through the lining of the cervix, womb or uterus. If she has any cuts or sores (which may not be visible), the risk of transmission is higher as it is easier for the virus to get into the bloodstream. If an infected woman has unprotected sex with a man, she can transmit the virus to him through either a sore or cut on his penis, his urethra, or the inside of his foreskin.
Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex as the membrane (lining) of the anus is thinner and more delicate than the vagina. This makes the area more prone to tearing. For both vaginal and anal sex, the receptive partner is at a higher risk of contracting any STI, than the giving partner.
Oral sex is considered a low risk sexual activity in terms of contracting and transmitting HIV. This is because saliva contains enzymes which break down the virus, while the lining of the mouth is tougher than the vagina or anus. There is a hypothetical risk of transmission if sexual fluids encounter sores or ulcers in the mouth. This is also possible if blood from the mouth comes into contact with any genital sores, though the risk is considered extremely small.
The chances of getting the virus through sex is increased if there is any blood present (such as during a woman's period or due to any cuts) or if any partner has another STI.
HIV can also be passed on by any exchange of body fluids without sex. This can include:
- Sharing Needles
- Mother to Child (during pregnancy, birth or breast feeding)
- Blood Transfusions and Products
- Healthcare Workers
- Tattoos or Piercings
Sharing needles is a very high-risk activity for many blood borne diseases, as needles are an efficient way for one person's blood to enter another person's blood stream.
Mothers can transmit many STIs to their newborns either during pregnancy, delivery or by breastfeeding. There are drugs which can reduce the risk of transmission of these STIs significantly, if a mother knows her status early enough in the pregnancy.
In countries where blood supplies are not routinely screened, blood transfusions also pose a high-risk for transmission.
Healthcare workers can become infected with the virus through a needle prick, or by coming into contact with infected blood. However, the risk is low and the number of documented cases is very small.
If tattoo equipment has been used on someone with the virus, and has not been properly sterilized afterwards, there is also a risk of transmission.
What is usually the first sign of HIV?
Most people with HIV will not experience any unusual symptoms for two or three years. So, the only way to know whether you have HIV is to get tested.
In many cases of HIV, the infected person will experience flu-like symptoms in the early stages of their infection. Many people think this is a cold, and once they recover they think nothing of it.
Not all those who experience these symptoms will have HIV, but the only way to know for sure is to get tested as soon as possible. Better2Know provides HIV testing across Asia and can detect the virus as early as 10 days after the incident you are concerned about.
Early Symptoms (first six weeks)
In the early stages of an HIV infection, just over half the people who contract HIV report flu-like symptoms. These are a result of a process called seroconversion. This is where a foreign pathogen has triggered the immune system to respond by creating antibodies to combat the virus. The most common symptoms of seroconversion are:
- Sore throat
- Loss of appetite
- Aching muscles and joints
These symptoms can occur from the first week after possible infection and can last for up to six weeks.
Longer Term Symptoms
There may be a period of two of three years where you do not experience any symptoms, although you may feel it takes longer to recover from illnesses. In this time the virus can result in further damage to your immune system by reducing the number of CD4 cells. This means your immune system is weakened and unable to fight off foreign pathogens. A chronic HIV infection can produce symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- Chronic diarrhoea
- Night sweats
- Persistent cough
- Serious illnesses or diseases
You should get an HIV Test if:
- There is any chance that an exchange of bodily fluids may have taken place with someone who is, or may be, HIV positive
- A sexual partner tells you they are HIV positive
- You have recently had unprotected sex with a new partner
- You have shared needles or injecting equipment
- You have had a tattoo or piercing without a sterile needle
- You or your partner have another sexually transmitted infection
- You are pregnant or planning a pregnancy
- You have, or may have, encountered contaminated blood
What should I do if I think I have HIV?
HIV can be managed, often with antiretroviral therapy, and is no longer considered a life-threatening disease if detected early enough. So, it is important to get tested now if you have any doubts concerning your HIV status.
To book your HIV test with Better2Know today, you can use our online booking system by clicking on the orange button at the top of the page and following the instructions. Otherwise, you can call our trained sexual health advisors on the number above and they can arrange your appointment or answer any additional queries you may have.
HIV Statistics in Asia
- The Asia and Pacific region has the second highest number of HIV positive cases in the world, with over 5 million people estimated to be living with the infection.
- More than 2 million people are living with HIV in India.
- HIV prevalence amongst men who have sex with men was higher than 5% in 9 of the 19 Asian countries that reported data.
Here at Better2Know, we believe in the normalisation of HIV. By increasing awareness and removing any associated stigmas, our aim is to improve the health and wellbeing of patients throughout the Asian continent.
HIV is no longer the life-threatening condition it once was. The upsurge in effective antiretroviral therapies means that HIV can now be managed and contained properly, so long as it is identified early enough. Late diagnosis is a serious barrier to tackling HIV in Asia, with too many people starting treatment with exceedingly low CD4 cell counts. It is estimated that over a third of people living with HIV in the region are unaware of their status. The sooner an HIV infection is diagnosed and treated, the less chance there is of that individual passing the infection on to someone else. Hence the importance of regular testing and early intervention.
As well as individual HIV testing, Better2Know provides a range of comprehensive sexual health screens throughout Asia, which combine confidential HIV tests with the detection of other harmful STIs.
Many countries around the world require an HIV certificate as part of their conditions for a visa application, whether it be for travel, professional, or other related purposes. At Better2Know, we can provide you with an HIV certificate following your confidential screen at one of our private sexual health clinics in Asia.
HIV Certificates for Visas
There are many countries that require proof of HIV status test during their entry application process. These include:
- Saudi Arabia
- United Arab Emirates
- South Korea
There are many more and the list continues to grow. Better2Know encourages potential travellers to check entry requirements to any country they are planning to visit.
HIV Certificates for Employment
There are also a range of occupations for which you may need an HIV certificate, including:
- Healthcare workers
- Oil, gas and offshore workers
- Security personnel
- Some sportsmen and women, including boxers
Better2Know can provide HIV testing and certificates regardless of your occupation. We can also arrange corporate billing in Asia.
How do I get an HIV certificate?
To receive an HIV certificate following your test with Better2Know, please contact our expert Patient Services team on the number displayed at the top of the page and notify our advisors that you will be needing a certificate after your test. If you have any additional queries in relation to HIV testing or certification, our team will also be able to assist you.
Choose Better2Know for your HIV test
- 100% confidentiality. Your results are never shared without your consent and you will not have to use your real name to be tested.
- Locations throughout Asia. From Mumbai to Hong Kong, we have private clinics across the continent, making it easier than ever to get tested for HIV.
- First class facilities. Our clinics in Asia meet the highest international standards of quality.
- Non-judgmental staff. Our welcoming Patient Services team are friendly, experienced and extremely discreet.