Brief Overview About HIV Testing

HIV testing basically involves the examination of the blood, saliva and urine to confirm whether you have been affected with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), the virus that causes AIDS. AIDS stands for Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. AIDS is basically a disease that affects the immune system in the body that is responsible for fighting diseases.HIV is transmitted through body fluids primarily semen ,vaginal fluids and blood.

When To Get A HIV Test Done?

People should get a HIV test done in the following cases.If you involve yourself in an activity that has an HIV infection risk factor such as having one or more sexual partners, received blood transfusion, used cheap drugs by injection or having sexually transmitted disease.Knowing the HIV status would help you to protect your sexual partner. The result of this test would help you to take decisions on childbirth and pregnancy.And finally you can get relief from worrying whether you’re an HIV infected person or not.

Standard Types Of HIV Tests

The most standard and widely test for detecting HIV are the blood tests. A small amount of blood is extracted from the arm and taken to the lab for examination. There are 2 types of tests that are carried out. The first being enzyme immunoassay (EIA) and the next being enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) .Western blot test is used to confirm the EIA/ELISA tests since no test is 100 percent accurate.

These tests basically check for the presence of antibodies to HIV and not particularly for the virus. These tests may usually take around 1 to 2 weeks time.

Rapid HIV Test

These tests are based on the same technology and knowhow as the ELISA tests but with one difference that instead of sending the sample to the lab for analyzing, the rapid test is analyzed alone and the results are out within a few minutes say between 15 to 30 minutes. This can be done either with a blood sample or oral fluids. They are very simple tests that can be carried out without the need of experts.

Antigen Test (P24)

Antigens are basically components located on foreign particles that stimulate the production of antibodies in the human body. The antigen on the HIV that initiates the formation of antibodies is a protein called P24.In the beginning of HIV infection the production of P24 is in excess and can be detected in the blood serum.P24 tests are not usually suggested for analytic purposes with respect to HIV, as they work only before the antibodies are produced and hence have very low sensitivity.

Oral Test

This test is where the saliva is tested for the presence of HIV antibodies. It is as accurate as the blood tests since it is tested using an EIA test followed by a Western blot test. One point to be noted is that only semen, vaginal fluids and blood are the main body fluids by which HIV is transmitted and not saliva.

Urine Based Test

This is less accurate that the saliva and blood test and needs to be confirmed with a Western blot test.

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