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HIV testing: HIV and AIDS tests

HIV testing: HIV and AIDS tests

To determine whether you are HIV-negative or positive, an HIV test analyzes a sample of your blood, saliva, or urine. HIV diagnosis is most frequently made by blood tests. HIV testing are classified into three categories: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests (NAT). Although HIV testing are generally reliable, follow-up tests allow the healthcare provider to validate the results. For early treatment and better patient outcomes, early testing is essential.

1st HIV testing

Rapid tests: Rapid tests use blood from your finger or saliva. Antibody tests look for antibodies to HIV in a person’s blood or oral fluid. Antibodies to HIV are created in an attempt to fight the virus. If the initial HIV test is rapid or self-test and it is positive, the person should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. Antibody tests can take 23 to 90 days to detect HIV after exposure. Home tests being sold in pharmacies and Saliva test positive results should be confirmed with a blood test. HIV self-tests and rapid antibody tests, usually done with blood from a finger stick or with oral fluid provide results in 30 minutes or less.

2nd HIV Testing

Antigen/antibody tests: As early as 18 to 45 days after infection, antigen/antibody tests that take blood from a vein can detect an HIV infection. These tests search for HIV antigens as well as antibodies. When exposed to viruses like HIV, a person's immune system produces antibodies. Foreign substances known as antigens trigger an individual's immune system. Before antibodies form in an HIV patient, an antigen called p24 is generated. The same blood sample used for the initial test can be used for follow-up testing if the initial lab test for HIV is positive. Depending on the method and equipment the laboratory uses, results can be ready in 2 to 3 hours. The first HIV test should be either an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test.

3rd HIV Testing

Viral Load/HIV RNA test: The viral load/HIV RNA test determines the amount of HIV in your blood. In most cases, it's used to track the success of a medication or spot an early HIV infection. Nucleic acid tests (NAT) detect the presence of viruses in the blood. This test should be considered for those who have had a recent or suspected exposure to HIV and have tested negative with an antibody or antigen/antibody test. Typically, 10 to 33 days after exposure, a NAT can find HIV. With a NAT, it takes 2 to 7 days to get your test results.

Despite the fact that the body can take up to a year to acquire antibodies to the virus, those who have been exposed to it should get tested right once. Depending on the initial period of exposure, more tests might be required. AIDS is brought on by the HIV virus (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). The most advanced and dangerous stage of an HIV infection is AIDS. HIV steadily weakens your immune system without therapy, which causes AIDS. With AIDS, your body has difficulty fighting infections caused by germs that normally do not cause problems in your body.

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