What is HIV - CLIA ?
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that can be transmitted through contact with certain infected body fluids. If left untreated, HIV can progressively destroy the body’s ability to fight serious infections and cancers.
HIV tests use blood, oral fluid, or urine samples to detect the presence of the HIV virus, HIV antigens, and/or HIV antibodies produced by the body in response to an HIV infection. HIV testing is the only way to know if a person has HIV.
The purpose of HIV tests is to determine the presence of an HIV infection using blood, oral fluid, or urine samples. HIV tests may be used as a routine screening test, as a diagnostic test after possible exposure to HIV, or in patients with symptoms of an HIV infection.
What does the test measure?
HIV tests detect the presence of the HIV virus, HIV antigens, and/or HIV antibodies. If these substances are detected, the test returns a positive result for HIV.
There are three types of HIV tests available:
- Antibody test: Antibodies are produced by the body after an HIV infection. It can take weeks for the body to produce antibodies, so HIV antibody tests can only detect HIV from 3 to 12 weeks after infection.
- Antigen/antibody test: Antigens are foreign substances that activate an immune response. Antigens appear before the body produces antibodies, so HIV antigen/antibody tests can detect an HIV infection earlier than antibody tests, within 2 to 4 weeks of becoming infected.
- HIV viral load test: An HIV viral load test looks for the quantity of HIV virus in the blood. In addition to detecting an HIV infection, viral load testing can also detect how much of the virus is in the blood. Although this type of testing can detect an HIV infection earlier than other HIV tests, it’s very expensive and is typically only used when someone has symptoms or possible exposure to HIV.
How to get tested
HIV tests are conducted at doctor’s offices, medical clinics, and many community-based organizations. Taking an HIV test does not typically require a doctor’s order, although HIV tests may be ordered by a doctor as part of a routine health screening.
Can I take the test at home?
At-home HIV tests are a convenient way to take an HIV test in a private location. Testing for HIV at home is a form of HIV screening that requires additional follow-up if preliminary results are positive. At-home HIV tests can be obtained online, at a pharmacy, or at health departments and community-based organizations.