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How is TB diagnosed?
Your doctor, nurse, or clinic sister wants to test you for Tuberculosis (TB). Here’s what to expect.
Your doctor, nurse, or clinic sister wants to test you for Tuberculosis (TB). Here’s what to expect
Getting tested for TB
If your doctor, nurse, or clinic sister is worried about your health, they may suggest you undergo a TB test. If any signs of TB are present in your body, it’s a good idea to get tested as soon as possible.
Tuberculosis can affect almost any organ in your body, but it is most commonly found in your lungs. Your doctor, nurse, or clinic sister will suggest a TB test if you have any of the following TB symptoms;
- Night sweats
- Persistent coughing for at least a week
- Coughing up blood/phlegm consistently
- Chest pain
- Breathing problems
- Unexplained weight loss
- High temperature or fever
- Fatigue and weakness
- Loss of appetite
- Swollen lymph nodes
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The TB test
TB tests are simple. The most common one in South Africa is the sputum test. Various countries will use different tests but sputum tests are preferred in regions where there’s a high prevalence of latent TB.
You’ll be asked to cough and spit onto a medical slide, or into a container. This sample is laboratory tested for the presence of Mycobacterium Tuberculosis. Your results should arrive within the following few days. In South Africa, we regularly use what is called the rapid sputum test. This provides your within 24 hours. If you’re uncertain about your TB test results, you can request further tests. This may include having an x-ray, or similar scan.
If you are diagnosed with TB, your doctor will place you on a TB treatment plan and tell you everything you need to know. Take your medication as directed and make sure you attend every scheduled medical appointment. Remember: TB is fully treatable and you can recover from it, as long as you stick to your treatment regime.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR TB). 4 May. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/publications/factsheets/drtb/xdrtb.htm [Accessed 22 July 2019].
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2016. Signs & symptoms. 17 March. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/tb/topic/basics/signsandsymptoms.htm [Accessed 22 July 2019].
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2019. Tuberculosis (TB) disease: symptoms and risk factors. 24 January. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/features/tbsymptoms/index.html [Accessed 22 July 2019].
Mayo Clinic. 2019. Tuberculosis. Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tuberculosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20351250 [Accessed 22 July 2019].
McIntosh, J. 2018. All you need to know about tuberculosis. Medical news today. 16 November. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8856.php [Accessed 22 July 2019].
TB Alert. n.d.. Do I have TB. Available at: https://www.thetruthabouttb.org/do-i-have-tb/ [Accessed 22 July 2019].
TB Facts. 2019. Symptoms of TB – tiredness, losing weight, fever, cough. Available at: https://www.tbfacts.org/symptoms-of-tb/ [Accessed 22 July 2019].
TB Facts. 2019. TB Tests – Tests for diagnosis of TB, sputum test, blood test. Available at: https://www.tbfacts.org/tb-tests/ [Accessed 22 July 2019].
Western Cape Government. 2017. TB and you. 3 March. Available at: https://www.westerncape.gov.za/tb [Accessed 22 July 2019].
We all have questions.
Below are some of the answers to the most common questions that you need to know.
What is usually the first sign of HIV?
After getting infected with HIV, most patients only experience moderate flu-like symptoms. Typically, the illness is sudden in onset and is characterised by fever, swelling of the lymph glands, a measles-like rash all over the body and ulcers in the mouth and sometimes on the genitalia.
What are the 4 stages of HIV?
- Stage 1: Infection – Exposure to infected bodily fluids.
- Stage 2: Asymptomatic – HIV quickly spreads and the patient becomes seropositive for HIV antibodies.
- Stage 3: Symptomatic – The immune system is now engaged in a constant battle with the rapidly replicating virus.
- Stage 4: AIDS – At this stage, the patient’s CD4+ count is 200 cells per mm3 or less.
How soon can HIV be detected by a blood test?
No test can detect HIV immediately after infection. The time between initial infection and a detectable viral load is called the window period. It can take anywhere from 2-12 weeks to after exposure detect whether you are HIV-positive or not, depending on which testing method is used.
How long does it take to show symptoms of HIV?
Following initial infection, there is a period of intense, unchecked viral replication that occurs. It usually takes two to four weeks after infection and can last about one to two weeks, after which there tends to be a slight recovery, and the infected individual is considered to be seropositive for HIV antibodies.
How is HIV transmitted?
HIV is transmitted from one person to another through the exchange of body fluids. The main method of transmission in South Africa is through unprotected sexual activity.
Does HIV test affect life insurance?
Being HIV-positive can affect standard life insurance policies, particularly if your status changes from HIV-negative to HIV-positive within a particular age range. That’s why AllLife covers all lives. Your HIV status doesn’t prevent you from getting cover with us.
Can HIV-positive women have children?
Yes, HIV-positive women can enjoy healthy pregnancies and give birth to healthy HIV-negative babies. Through the Prevention of Mother to Child Transmission (PMTCT) programme has been highly effective in reducing transmission risk to under 1%.
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What will I be covered for?
In a few simple steps, you could be covered for comprehensive Life Cover and HIV Disability Cover (optional). We believe in providing you with Life Insurance to suit your needs so we will find a solution for you.
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What happens after I‘m covered?
After you’re covered you can enjoy the benefit of our Health Control Programme where we remind and assist you when it comes to regular tests and checkups, ensuring that you live a healthy and happy life.
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