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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)

An HIV test is performed to ascreen for the presence of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus in a person’s body. There are various types of HIV tests that check blood samples or other bodily fluids for the virus. Quick diagnosis and timely treatment are vital for the effective management of HIV, so it does not reach its most advanced stage, which is AIDS (Acquired Immuno-Deficiency Syndrome).

There are mainly 3 types of tests that are used to detect the presence of the HIV virus:

  • HIV Antibody Test: This is a blood test that can only detect antibodies that the body produces in response to the presence of the HIV virus. It can detect the presence of the virus after 3-12 weeks of being infected.
  • HIV Viral Load Test: This test measures the amount of HIV in the blood and is generally performed to monitor the infection.
  • HIV Antibody-Antigen Test: This is a combination test that detects both antibodies produced by the body and the viral protein p24. This test can detect the presence of the virus as early as 2-6 weeks after being infected.

Each test has its own purpose and advantages and can be prescribed in different situations. The price of the HIV test will also depend on which test is ordered.

If one suspects that they may have been exposed to the HIV virus, or if they are displaying symptoms that may indicate an HIV infection, an HIV screening test might be in order. However, instead of simply searching for an “HIV test near me”, they should consult a doctor who will be better able to take stock of the situation and prescribe a relevant screening test.

Symptoms that may indicate HIV include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Muscle aches and joint pain
  • Rash
  • Sore throat and painful mouth sores
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Diarrhoea
  • Weight loss
  • Cough
  • Night sweats

The antibody-antigen test is the most accurate and reliable test that is performed to diagnose an HIV infection. This is a combination test that detects the presence of both antibodies and the viral protein called p24 in the blood. It acts as a confirmatory test for HIV as it can detect the presence of the virus as early as 2-6 weeks post infection.

An HIV infection progresses in stages and gets worse over time with every stage. It attacks and destroys an infected person’s immune system gradually and in its most advanced stage leads to the development of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). There are 3 distinct stages of progression of this infection: acute HIV infection, chronic HIV infection, and the last stage, AIDS. To prevent it from advancing from one stage to the next, a timely diagnosis is vital. The enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay or ELISA test for HIV has the highest accuracy. With a proper treatment plan, it is possible to manage HIV and live a normal and long life.

There are several tests that can be used for the diagnosis of an HIV infection, and the normal range will be different for each. The normal range of the Elisa HIV test will be different than that of the HIV viral load test and the antibody test. Apart from this. there are also several factors, such as age, medical history, etc. that can affect one’s test results. The normal range of a particular test also varies from one lab to another.

So, it is always best to avoid confusion and consult a doctor with the results, so a proper diagnosis can be done.

A rapid HIV test is a diagnostic test that provides quicker results as compared to regular diagnostic and screening tests. The rapid HIV test can be performed using any bodily fluid sample, including saliva, nasal secretions, and urine. A special substance is then added to the sample and if the HIV virus is present, it will cause a chemical reaction, the results of which will be shown using a dipstick or a rapid test cassette.

The HIV 1 and 2 test is the most commonly prescribed screening test for HIV. This is an Enzyme-Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay (ELISA) test that detects the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. A highly accurate test, the HIV 1 and 2 test can detect the presence of HIV as early as 2-6 weeks after infection. However, one should keep in mind that this test can only help detect the presence of the virus in the blood and must be followed by further testing for a more comprehensive diagnosis.

At-home HIV tests are rapid tests that individuals can perform by themselves. An oral fluid sample is collected using a swab. The test looks for the presence of HIV antibodies in the sample. However, with high chances of receiving false negatives, at-home tests are not always the most reliable. It is always a better idea to book a cost-effective HIV test (prescribed by the doctor) at an accredited diagnostics centre like Max Lab for proper results.

Getting a positive result in an HIV screening test is not the end of the world. With timely diagnosis and proper care, it is possible for a person with HIV to live a normal, long, and healthy life. Counselling is generally offered to individuals who are HIV-positive to help them understand their condition and the steps that they need to take next. Based on the progression of the virus, an AIDS test may also be suggested.

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