Human Immunodeficiency Virus 1 and 2 (HIV-1/2) Preliminary Blood Test (4th generation)
The HIV-1/2 Preliminary Blood Test (4th generation) includes an Enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for antigen/antibody screen for HIV-1/O/2 with reflex to supplementary differentiation assay for HIV-1 or HIV-2. Specimens positive by the screening assay but negative by the supplementary antibody typing assay will reflex to qualitative nucleic acid amplification (NAA).
The HIV Antigen/Antibodies Test is the recommended standard rapid test for routine HIV Screening. It typically sees quick results in just 1-2 business days and is one of the most affordable HIV tests available. The HIV Antigen/Antibodies test, also known as a 4th Generation HIV Test, looks for both antibodies to the HIV virus and the p24 Antigen which is specific to HIV. Antibodies to HIV typically begin to develop several weeks after exposure. In the majority of people, these antibodies will be detectable by 12 weeks from the point of exposure. In some people, antibodies may be detectable as early as 4 weeks from exposure. The p24 Antigen is a viral protein which makes up the majority of the HIV viral core (capsid). P24 Antigen levels are typically highest a few weeks after exposure and drop to undetectable levels during the time when antibodies begin to develop. The combination of screening for both antibodies and antigen allow this test to detect a significantly higher number of early infections than previous generations of HIV screening.
In addition to the antigen/antibody screening, this test includes additional supplemental testing at no extra cost in the event of a positive result. If the initial screening comes back positive, it will be run again multiple times. If any of the additional runs come back with a positive result, an HIV Multispot confirmatory test will automatically be run. The Multispot Supplemental test provides differentiated testing for antibodies to both HIV 1 and HIV 2. If the Multispot test has a negative or indeterminate result, a Qualitative RNA test will be run. This test looks for the genetic material of the HIV virus. With three possible levels of detection, the 4th Generation HIV Antigen/Antibody test provides a thorough and in depth analysis.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is spread through exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids, primarily through sexual contact and the sharing of needles during intravenous drug use. HIV infections often show no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are typically described as flu-like. HIV attacks the immune system by destroying T-cells. In time, HIV may lead to the development of AIDS. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported that 1 in 4 people with HIV are not aware they are infected. Undiagnosed HIV cases threaten not only the person infected, but everyone they may potentially spread the virus to. Testing for HIV can assist in early diagnosis and treatment. With effective treatment, people infected with HIV have a much improved chance of living a normal lifespan.
HIV screening is recommended for anyone who is sexually active but especially those who engage in high risk behaviors such as sexual contact with multiple partners and intravenous drug use. Anyone who learns that a past or present partner has tested positive for HIV should receive an HIV test themselves. Prenatal testing for HIV is recommended for pregnant women due to the risk of passing the infection to their baby. Early detection is key to effective HIV treatment, so it is advisable to be tested even if you are not experiencing symptoms.
Antibodies to HIV are typically detectable by 12 weeks after exposure and may be detectable as early as 4 weeks from exposure for some people.
P24 Antigen is typically detectable by 3 weeks from exposure and may be detectable earlier for some people.
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