In the two previous articles we learned about how HIV is transmitted and what are the symptoms of infection. On this one we’ll see how an HIV infection is diagnosed. The last two turned out to be very long so I’m going to make this one short and to the point.
Tests for HIV and AIDS
There is a number of ways to test a person for HIV and one way alone to test for AIDS. As we already learned, AIDS is a name for the condition caused by the HIV virus, in which there is a density of less than 200 cd4 cells in a square millimetre of blood. Therefore, AIDS is only detectable by a blood test. The presence of the HIV virus can be checked by any of the following methods:
Home HIV Test
The “Home Access Express Test” is the only FDA approved home HIV test. You can but it at the manufacturer’s?official site?for??40$-50$ a pop, or a pack of two for 70$ – 80$.
Saliva HIV Test
A cotton swab is rubbed on the inner cheek, put in a vial and sent to the lab. Usually the results are available within three days. This isn’t a very accurate test but it never gives a false negative and it’s noninvasive. That’s why it’s the most preliminary test taken for HIV presence. ?If a saliva test turns out positive it needs to be verified with a blood test.
Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay (ELISA) HIV Test
if you’re infected with HIV, you’d have antibodies in your blood. ELISA is an antigen-specific test, designed to check for the presence of antibodies in your serum (here’s how it works). It’s a very sensitive test and it even suits the clinical latency stage of AIDS. If it comes out positive, it needs to be verified. It takes some time for your body to manufacture antibodies, so the ELISA test may show a false positive in the first few weeks to few months from infection. If you think you’re infected with HIV despite of the test results, retake the test in three months. Remember that you may still have a high level of the virus in your blood and still may have a high chance of infecting others.
Western Blot HIV Test
This is the test that is used to verify the ELISA test, it’s the most conclusive HIV test of all. The reason it’s only used after an ELISA test is purely logistic – it’s a very sensitive blood test and it’s more complicated and expensive to perform than the ELISA test.
Viral Load HIV Tests
there are used after HIV presence is already verified. It measures the amount of HIV in the blood and it’s mostly used to check a patient’s treatment progress. There are three kinds of viral load tests, all working on the same principle. They detect HIV by using DNA sequences that bind specifically to the ones in the retrovirus. The result may vary a bit between those tests, but since there are three it’s easy to get the general idea.
Always use a condom and hopefully, you won’t need any of those.
Don’t forget to like?SHPECK.com on Facebook.
Itay “SHPECK” Rijensky