HIV Testing Singapore: How is it done for Men?

HIV testing in Singapore is key for your overall health as a man. It is the only foolproof confirmation for having or not having the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).

So, seeing to it that you get your test especially if you’re worried about your status is a good step in the right direction. Essentially, it is your best bet at getting timely medical care if you’re positive.

But it shouldn’t be a one-time-thing especially if you’re sexually active. A good rule of the thumb is to get regular HIV testing to maintain good sexual health.

It cannot only help you make good choices about your sexual behavior but also make it easy to access preventive measures like PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis), and seek appropriate healthcare. In today’s article, we will show you how HIV testing in Singapore is done for men.

Most importantly, we will also explain how HIV shows on men. Keep reading!

How do they Test for HIV in Men?

The tests used for HIV testing in Singapore are generally very accurate. However, when making arrangements for the test, it is important that you know that the accuracy of the tests depends on the timing concerning potential exposure and the tests themselves.

And most commonly tests work by detecting HIV antibodies or antigens that your body produces in response to the virus. So, it isn’t natural to wonder, how do they test for HIV in men? Here’s a simple answer;

There are three types of HIV tests for men; antigen/antibody tests, antibody tests and nucleic acid tests. The option for HIV testing that your doctor may recommend or settle on will depend on factors like time since the potential exposure, your individual preferences, and the specific purpose of testing.

The specific purpose for testing here can range from routine screening, to diagnosis tests or emergency screening. Here’s more on what you need to know on the options for HIV testing in Singapore;

·       Antigen/antibody tests

Antigen/antibody tests identify both HIV antibodies and antigens in the bloodstream. When someone contracts HIV, their immune system generates antibodies against the virus.

What’s more, antigens, like p24, are produced as the immune system responds to the infection. These tests are mostly conducted in labs and they play a key role in the diagnosis of HIV infection.

For blood drawn from a vein, lab-based antigen/antibody tests typically detect HIV between 18 to 45 days post-exposure. On the other hand, rapid tests, using a finger stick, can identify the virus within 18 to 90 days after exposure.

These tests are very effective for early detection. They enable timely intervention and management of HIV to minimize impact. However, it’s crucial to note that while this option for HIV testing in Singapore is effective in most cases, there’s a window period post-exposure when the virus might not be detectable.

That said, it is best to get regular testing, especially if there’s a recent risk of exposure. The regular test can help with accurate diagnosis and early intervention to enhance the efficacy of HIV control and treatment programs.

·       Antibody tests

Antibody tests for HIV examine blood or oral fluid to detect HIV-specific antibodies. These tests aim to identify the immune system’s response to the virus rather than the virus itself.

They generally take 23 to 90 days post-exposure to accurately detect HIV. Rapid tests and FDA-approved HIV self-tests predominantly rely on this method.

Tests using blood from a vein can often be used to detect HIV earlier compared to those from a finger prick or oral fluid. For this test, your doctor will draw blood or collect oral fluid and check them for the HIV-specific antibodies.

Laboratory-based tests involve examining the sample in a lab, and rapid tests provide quicker results on-site. For laboratory tests, you may need to wait for a few days to get the results.

If you’re getting rapid tests though, you can expect to have the results within minutes. Again for the antibody tests, it is essential to acknowledge that the window period—the time it takes for antibodies to develop after exposure—can affect accuracy.

With that in mind, if you’re contemplating HIV testing in Singapore after potential exposure, you will need to consider this timeframe as well. This is important as it also influences the accuracy of the tests.

·       Nucleic Acid Tests (NAT)

Nucleic Acid Tests (NATs) seek the HIV virus itself in the blood. These tests target genetic material unique to the virus.

Essentially, this is what makes them highly sensitive and effective, especially for recent exposures or early symptomatic cases where antibody or antigen/antibody tests may show a false negative. NATs are recommended for those potentially exposed or showing initial symptoms within 10 to 33 days post-exposure.

Performed in laboratories, NATs involve drawing blood for analysis. This method detects HIV’s RNA or DNA so it offers a quicker detection than antibody tests.

However, due to laboratory processing, results can take a few days to a week. Compared to antibody tests that identify the body’s response to HIV (usually after several weeks), NATs provide a narrower window period for accurate detection.

While highly accurate, they’re not typically used for routine screening. This is largely due to the cost and complexity but they are crucial for early diagnosis in high-risk scenarios.

How does HIV Show on Men?

If you suspect that you may have been exposed to HIV, it can be a little stressful. So, you may find yourself wondering; how does HIV show on men?

Now, HIV may show on men with symptoms like proctitis, penile ulcers, prostatitis, hypogonadism, and erectile dysfunction. Other than those, HIV may also cause symptoms like fever, muscle aches, sore throat, chills, and a rash. But this isn’t the same with everybody as some individuals may not show any symptoms at all.

Even if you get the symptoms that are suggestive of an HIV infection, you can only be sure of your status after HIV testing. Depending on how much time had passed since potential exposure, your doctor may suggest blood tests for assessments and diagnosis.

If diagnosed, treatment will primarily rely on Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) to manage HIV. And, specific symptoms may demand for tailored treatments as recommended by your doctor.

It’s a Wrap

Your best bet against HIV is reducing your risks of contracting it. However, if you’re worried of an exposure, engage your doctor for guidelines on how to best manage your condition. To schedule discreet HIV testing in Singapore or just get your burning questions about HIV addressed by a professional on HIV and men’s health, call or visit Dr. Ben’s Medical today at;

Dr Ben Medical @ Raffles / Tanjong Pagar

SBF Center Medical Suites

160 Robinson Road

#03-09 SBF Center Medical Suites

Singapore 068914

+65 888 12344

+65 888 12344