Rapid HIV test: What Should You Know?

By Blazma

Do you suspect that you might be infected with the Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and want to perform a test to confirm, but you don't want to wait for several days until the results are available? In the following article, you will find everything related to the rapid HIV test.

What is the Rapid HIV Test?

RA rapid HIV test is a quick test that can be performed in a laboratory, a community clinic, or at home to detect infection with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which is responsible for AIDS.

Usually, the result of this test appears within 20 - 30 minutes, unlike laboratory tests where a technician draws a blood sample from a vein, and it takes several days for the results to show.

What are the Types of Rapid HIV Tests?

Here are the types of rapid HIV tests:

  • HIV Antibody Rapid Tests

This test can detect HIV infection by identifying the presence of antibodies to this virus in the blood or oral fluids in less than 30 minutes. Antibodies are proteins produced by the immune system in response to infection.

While this test is as accurate as laboratory-based antibody tests (which analyze a blood sample from a vein), its window period can be longer. It can detect the virus within 18 - 90 days of exposure, unlike the laboratory test, which reveals antibodies 23 - 90 days after infection.

Most rapid HIV tests, including the only FDA-approved self-test for HIV, are antibody tests.

  • HIV Antibody/Antigen Rapid Tests

This test looks for both antibodies and antigens to HIV in the blood. Antigens are parts of the virus that stimulate the immune system to fight the infection.

This test can detect infection 18 - 90 days after exposure, while the laboratory test for antibodies/antigens can detect infection within 18 - 45 days.

How is the Rapid HIV Test Conducted?

Samples for rapid HIV tests are collected as follows:

  • For the antibody rapid test: a specialist uses a drop of blood from a finger or a saliva sample (swabbing the area between the gums and teeth to collect a sample of oral fluids), known as the oral rapid HIV test, or a urine sample.
  • For the antibody/antigen rapid test: a specialist draws a drop of blood from a finger for analysis.

Blazma offers several packages for HIV detection, including the sexually transmitted diseases package (PCR). All you need to do is schedule an appointment for sample collection. Blazma will send a specialist to collect the sample at a convenient time and place, send it to the lab for analysis, and then provide you with the result via text message as soon as it is available.

Is the Result Accurate?

Yes, the result of a rapid HIV test is accurate (reaching up to 99%) if the test is performed at the appropriate time, i.e., after a suitable period of exposure to the virus according to the type of test.

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