April 30, 2012
There are three types of test used to find out whether a person has HIV. These include testing for the antibodies, RNA and a combination test which looks for HIV 1 and 2 and the P24 antigen. If you believe you have been infected, time can play a key factor in the accuracy of your result. The type of test allows for greater accuracy dependent on your circumstances and allow for a peace of mind early on.
When you attend a HIV test your doctor may take a history, discuss with you what the test will involve and answer any questions you may have. Based on when you think you may have been exposed, the doctor will be able to recommend the best possible test for you whilst also offering support and advice.
Tests are usually quick with some results available on the same day.
HIV INSTI test (90 days)
The HIV INSTI test is a modern third generation same day test which can give extremely reliable results in minutes. The accuracy rating is 99.9% and ideal if you have been exposed to HIV over 90 days prior to the test.
Like a traditional HIV test, a doctor will take a small sample of your blood and after one or two minutes your results will be available. This test is very accurate and reliable at detecting HIV 1 and 2, however if you believe you have been infected to HIV within the last 28 days then consider the HIV Duo Test. The results from the Duo test will take a few hours to be returned.
HIV DUO test (28 days)
HIV Duo test is a fourth generation test which combines looking for antibodies to HIV 1 and 2 as well as the P24 antigen. This dual testing makes ensures a 99.8% accurate results 28 days after exposure to HIV.
When you go for the test a doctor will take a small sample of your blood and then send it to the laboratory where it will be tested for HIV antibodies and HIV P24 antigen which forms part of the core of the virus. As the antibodies can form weeks after the infection, the test will detect the virus in the blood stream much earlier.
Test results are available after approximately four hours.
The HIV Duo test comes recommended by UK Guidelines of HIV Testing 2008.
HIV RNA PCR test (10 days)
This is the most sensitive testing available and can be used to detect HIV RNA in a person’s blood up to ten days after exposure. Although the test is not 100% accurate it can provide a peace of mind early on and help detect HIV infection before the antibodies have had chance to develop.
It is recommended that the test is followed up by the HIV Duo Test 28 days after you think you have been infected.
A doctor will take a small blood sample and send it to the laboratory. Results will be returned in five to seven working days.