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HIV Testing Procedure

What is HIV testing?

The presence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus is tested with HIV testing. Sperm, saliva and urine are used to perform these tests. Antibodies, antigens and ribonucleic acid are detected in the HIV testing. The time from the infection occurred until the test can detect a change is known as a window period. For subtype B, this can have a window period of 25 days for HIV-1 antibody tests. The window period can be lower with the use of antigen testing around 16 days. Nucleic Acid Testing can reduce to around 12 days. Performing HIV testing can be described as:
• Sensitivity: The results that will possibly be positive when HIV is thought to be present.
• Specificity: The results that will possibly be negative when HIV is not thought to be present.

There can be times when the HIV testing procedures are inaccurate or questionable. This is because all diagnostic tests have limits.
• False positive: HIV has wrongly been indicated in a non-infected individual.
• False negative: HIV has wrongly been ruled out in an infected person.

When someone has been exposed to HIV, questions can arise about the testing procedures, process and the reliability. Read below for questions that have been answered by Experts about HIV testing.

What are types of HIV testing?

The different types of HIV testing can include:
• HIV rapid test
• Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)
• HIV antibody testing
• HIV Eliza
• HIV Western Blot Test

When would HIV testing no longer be needed?

Antibodies are developed within 2-8 weeks or on an average of 25 days. Many of the different tests measure the antibodies that are made by the body. These antibodies are made to fight against the HIV. The window period can vary from person to person. This is because the immune system can take awhile to produce enough antibodies for the HIV test to detect. Occasionally, the immune system can take up to six months to develop antibodies. Since there are differences in immune systems, a six-month antibody test is needed to be final.

Why are the different types of HIV testing used?

The ELISA test can be sued because of high sensitivity. This test may not miss any individuals that are positive for HIV. There could be a chance the test could diagnose an individual as positive that is negative. Therefore, this test is used as a screening. The Western Blot test can be used when there is decisive evidence of HIV virus proteins. The Nucleic Acid Testing can also be used to confirm this screen. This is because it appears for specific DNA sequence specific for HIV. Someone may consider themselves free of the infection if the tests shows a level of >0.999 or negative because of the specificity high.

Would it be necessary to perform HIV testing at three months and again at six months?

The need for further testing after the three month is an area of controversy among medical practitioners. Some doctors have the belief that testing at three months is accurate enough with the current generation of HIV tests. The opinion expressed by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and other medical practitioners is there is still a chance the test can convert up to six months. There are no current studies that help prove the rare risk with the current generation of tests. Therefore, many medical practitioners have different opinions on the need for further HIV testing.

HIV test may need to be performed at six months to help confirm a diagnosis. Anytime someone is at risk of an HIV infection, questions and concerns can arise. Also, questions about the different tests and why these are used can arise. For more information or answers to these questions, individuals can contact an Expert.
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