What Happens If You Dont Fast Before Blood Test
Not fasting for a blood test will yield inaccurate results. As mentioned above, as the food is digested and metabolized, the nutrients which enter the bloodstream can interfere with test results.
If you happen to accidentally eat or drink something before a blood test, make sure to inform your clinician about it. In this case, both the clinician makes a note of it and test results are analyzed accordingly or you for better results, an appointment for the blood tests may need to be rescheduled.
What Is A False Positive Test
You can get a false positive HIV test. This is when a person who doesnt have HIV tests positive.
Newer tests like the fourth generation test are more accurate, but false positive and false negative results can happen for many reasons.
False positive results can happen if:
- the testing sample is contaminated
- the lab misreads or mislabels the test
- youve been part of a HIV vaccine study
Keep in mind, testing blood versus saliva may also affect accuracy of results.
If you receive a positive result, your doctor or clinic where you were tested will recommend a second test to confirm results. This will guide next steps in the process.
There are many options to get tested for HIV with the fourth generation test, including free clinics.
Some options include:
- sexual health clinic
- community health center
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website has a search tool to locate the nearest testing site by zip code.
Generally, there are no risks to the fourth generation test. Its exactly like any normal blood work or testing done by your healthcare provider during regular checkups.
Occasionally, there may be rare complications:
Let your healthcare provider know if youre afraid of needles and if you have any blood disorders that might increase your risk when blood is drawn. If you have any problems after the blood draw, contact the medical office where the test was done.
Normal May Differ Between Men And Women
If you compare your blood test results with those of someone of the opposite sex, you may be surprised to find differences. For example, the normal reference range for the number of red blood cells in a complete blood count is between 5 million and 6 million cells per microliter for a man, but for women, its between 4 million and 5 million, according to the NHLBI.
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How The Oraquick In
What is the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test and how does it work?
The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test is a rapid self-administered over-the-counter test. The OraQuick In-Home HIV Test kit consists of a test stick to collect the specimen, a test tube to insert the test stick and complete the test, testing directions, two information booklets , a disposal bag and phone numbers for consumer support.
This approved test uses oral fluid to check for antibodies to HIV Type 1 and HIV Type 2, the viruses that cause AIDS. The kit is designed to allow you to take the HIV test anonymously and in private with the collection of an oral fluid sample by swabbing your upper and lower gums with the test device. After collecting the sample you insert the device into the kits vial which contains a developer solution, wait 20-40 minutes, and read the test result. A positive result with this test does not mean that an individual is definitely infected with HIV but rather that additional testing should be done in a medical setting to confirm the test result. Additionally, a negative test result does not mean that an individual is definitely not infected with HIV, particularly when exposure may have been within the previous three months. Again an individual should obtain a confirmatory test in a medical setting.
When should I take a test for HIV?
How reliable is the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test?
OraQuick In-Home HIV Test Fact Sheet
What Is Being Tested
Human immunodeficiency virus is the cause of AIDS . HIV screening tests detect the HIV antigen and/or HIV antibodies produced in response to an HIV infection in the blood. Some tests detect HIV antibody in oral fluid.
When a person becomes infected with HIV, through exposure to the blood or body fluids of an infected individual or a contaminated needle, for example, the virus begins to replicate itself, producing a large number of copies. During the first few weeks of infection, the amount of virus and the p24 antigen level in the blood can be quite high.
About 2-8 weeks after exposure to the virus, the immune system responds by producing antibodies directed against the virus that can be detected in the blood. As the initial infection resolves and the level of HIV antibody increases, both virus and p24 antigen levels decrease in the blood.
An HIV infection may initially cause no symptoms or cause flu-like symptoms that resolve after a week or two. The only way to determine whether a person has been infected is through HIV testing.
If HIV is not detected early and treated, it may become a simmering infection that may cause few symptoms for a decade or more. If the infection is still not treated, eventually symptoms of AIDS emerge and begin to progressively worsen. Over time and without treatment, HIV destroys the immune system and leaves a person’s body vulnerable to debilitating infections.
Detecting and diagnosing HIV early in the course of infection is important because:
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Laboratory Methods For Diagnosis Of Hiv Infection In Infants And Children
The definitive diagnosis of HIV infection at any age requires diagnostic testing that confirms the presence of HIV. Serological testing identifies HIV antigen and/or antibody generated as part of the immune response to infection with HIV. In children older than 18 months of age, serological testing should be used in the same manner as in adults. However, maternal HIV antibody is transferred to the baby passively during pregnancy and then declines . Infected infants then go on to produce HIV antibody however, most commonly used HIV serological assays cannot distinguish between maternal HIV antibody and HIV antibody produced by the infant, making the interpretation of reactive HIV serological test results difficult . In order to diagnose HIV infection definitely in children aged less than 18 months, assays are required that detect the virus or its components . A range of laboratory-based techniques are available, and these are discussed in more detail in the following section.
Red Cell Distribution Width
With this test, we get an idea of the shape and size of red blood cells. In this case, width refers to a measurement of distribution, not the size of the cells. Liver disease, anemia, nutritional deficiencies, and a number of health conditions could cause high or low RDW results.
Normal range: 11% to 15%
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Does Hiv Always Show Up On Testing
No, if someone was recently infected, it might not show up with testing. How quickly HIV shows up on testing depends on the type of test done:
- Testing that looks for the virus itself can find HIV 728 days after infection.
- Testing that looks for HIV antibodies can find HIV antibodies 312 weeks after infection.
Where Can People Find More Information About Hiv Testing
There are several resources for people interested about the facts of HIV testing.
- The national HIV, STD, and hepatitis testing site Get Tested helps visitors find free, fast, and confidential testing.
The CDC web site is also an excellent source of information: https://www.cdc.gov/hiv/basics/testing.html.
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Can You Use The Hiv Antibody Test To Detect Hiv In Newborns
No. Because maternal antibodies are transferred from mother to baby and stay in the newborn’s system for 6-12 months, a different test must be used. A test that detects the genetic material, either an HIV RNA or HIV DNA test, is required.
Conditions: HIV Infection and AIDS
Screening: Pregnancy, Newborns, Teens, Young Adults, Adults, Adults 50 and Up
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How Often Should I Get Routine Blood Work
Your doctor will typically recommend that you get routine blood work at least once a year, around the same time as your yearly physical.
But this is the bare minimum. There are several major reasons you may want to get blood tests more often than that:
- Youre experiencing unusual, persistent symptoms. These could include anything from fatigue to abnormal weight gain to new pain.
- You want to optimize your health. Knowing levels of various blood components, such as HDL and LDL cholesterol, can allow you to tweak your diet or fitness plan to minimize unhealthy habits . This can also maximize the nutrients you put in your body and more.
- You want to reduce your risk of disease or complications. Regular blood tests can catch the warning signs of almost any disease early. Many heart, lung, and kidney conditions can be diagnosed using blood tests.
Talk to your doctor first if you want to get certain tests more often than once a year.
Some other tests that you may want include:
- enzyme markers if youre at risk for cancer or other conditions like liver cirrhosis, stroke, or celiac disease
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What Do The Results Mean
If your result is negative, it can mean you don’t have HIV. A negative result may also mean you have HIV but it’s too soon to tell. It can take a few weeks for HIV antibodies and antigens to show up in your body. If your result is negative, your health care provider may order additional HIV tests at a later date.
If your result is positive, you will get a follow-up test to confirm the diagnosis. If both tests are positive, it means you have HIV. It does not mean you have AIDS. While there is no cure for HIV, the disease can be effectively controlled with medicine. The medicine used to treat HIV is called antiretroviral therapy . ART can significantly reduce the amount of HIV in the blood. People with HIV who take ART before the disease gets too advanced can live long, healthy lives. If you are living with HIV, it’s important to see your health care provider regularly.
Why Do I Need An Immunoglobulins Blood Test
You may need this test if your health care provider thinks your immunoglobulin levels might be too low or too high.
Symptoms of levels that are too low include:
- Frequent and/or unusual bacterial or viral infections
- Lung infections
- Family history of immunodeficiency
If your immunoglobulin levels are too high, it may be a sign of an autoimmune disease, a chronic illness, an infection, or a type of cancer. Symptoms of these conditions vary greatly. Your health care provider may use information from your physical exam, medical history, and/or other tests to see if you are at risk for one of these diseases.
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Blood Tests To Assess Heart Disease Risk
A lipoprotein panel is a blood test that can help show whether youre at risk for . This test looks at substances in your blood that carry cholesterol.
A lipoprotein panel gives information about your:
- Total cholesterol.
- LDL cholesterol. This is the main source of cholesterol buildup and blockages in the arteries.
- HDL cholesterol. This type of cholesterol helps decrease blockages in the arteries.
- Triglycerides. Triglycerides are a type of fat in your blood.
A lipoprotein panel measures the levels of LDL and HDL cholesterol and triglycerides in your blood. Abnormal cholesterol and triglyceride levels may be signs of increased risk for CHD.
Most people will need to fast for 9 to 12 hours before a lipoprotein panel.
Reactive Results And Follow
Because of the possibility that a positive result from a single test is, in fact, a false positive, most healthcare professionals prefer to talk about the result being ‘reactive’ rather than ‘positive’. If the result is reactive, this indicates that the test has reacted to something in your blood and needs to be investigated further.
This preliminary result must be verified with a series of confirmatory tests. If the initial test was done on a rapid, point-of-care test, you might do a follow-up test with a second rapid test that works in a slightly different way. If you provided a blood sample for analysis in a laboratory, the staff there will run several tests on the sample before telling you the result.
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Dried Blood Spot Test
A DBS test is a free, accurate and convenient way to test for HIV in the comfort and privacy of your home.
It involves collecting a few drops of blood from your finger and allowing the blood to dry on a test card. You then send the card away to get tested and wait around a week to get the result back. You can register for a DBS HIV test here.
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Is Hiv Testing Necessary For Pregnant Women
HIV testing is critically important for pregnant women. HIV testing is recommended at the beginning of each pregnancy during prenatal care. If any HIV risk factors are present or there is a high incidence of HIV in the population, testing should be repeated in the third trimester. There have been enormous advances in the treatment of HIV-infected pregnant women. With proper management, the probability of transmitting the virus to the fetus is less than 2%. Without proper management, the risk of transmission is as high as 33%. Because undiagnosed HIV is so common, it is necessary to test all pregnant women. It is strongly recommended that all children born to women with HIV also be tested.
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Side Effects Of Hiv Treatment
People on current HIV treatments may experience mild side effects including:
- tiredness and fatigue
- skin rashes.
If you are on treatment, see your doctor every 3 to 6 months.
Regular blood tests are necessary to make sure your treatment is working and not causing serious side effects. It is recommended that you also get tested for STIs and talk to your doctor about your sexual health and overall wellbeing. Ensure you are having routine screening for cancers and keeping your vaccinations up to date.
What Happens During The Test
Before the test, a healthcare provider will explain the procedure. The person having the test will probably need to sign a consent form.
To help prevent any problems during the test, the person should be sure to tell the healthcare provider if:
- theyve had trouble giving blood in the past
- they have a bleeding disorder, such as hemophilia
- theyre taking anticoagulant medications
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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.
Test Window And Accuracy
If you get a negative result, it’s important to remember that the test may not detect HIV up to three months after infection. You can only be sure you are truly HIV-negative if your most recent test was after the window period and you havent had a potential HIV exposure during the window period. If you have had a potential exposure, you will need to be retested.
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Getting The Most From Your Blood Test Results
There are quite a few more tests available, but the ones included here are among the most common.
To get accurate readings, be sure to follow your doctors instructions in preparing for tests. You may, for example, be asked not to eat and to drink only water for anywhere from a few hours to 12 hours beforehand.
Please follow these instructions, or your results may be skewed, requiring additional tests or even unnecessary medications.
If you dont understand something in your results, remember its okay to ask questions. Doctors are busy people, but you are entitled to the information. If your doctor cant provide it, ask the nurse or physicians assistant for help.
Knowing where you stand with these important parameters is essential for being proactive and owning your own health.We hope you find this guide handy and helpful the next time your doctor orders a blood panel.
Take good care.
Disclaimer: Please note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content on this site, regardless of date, should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician.
Feb 23, 2021Originally Published: August 20, 2012
Understanding A Positive Result
What does a positive result mean?
If you use any type of antibody test and have a positive result, you will need another test to confirm your results.
- If you test in a community testing program or take a self-test and its positive, you should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing.
- If your test is done in a health care setting or a lab and its positive, the lab will conduct the follow-up testing, usually on the same blood sample as the first test.
If the follow-up test is also positive, it means you have HIV .
It is important that you start medical care and begin HIV treatment as soon as you are diagnosed with HIV. Antiretroviral therapy or ART is recommended for all people with HIV, regardless of how long theyve had the virus or how healthy they are. HIV medicine works by lowering the amount of virus in your body to very low levels. HIV medicine can make the viral load so low that a test cant detect it . HIV medicine slows the progression of HIV and helps protect your immune system. If you take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can stay healthy for many years. Having an undetectable viral load also helps prevent transmitting the virus to others. For example, if you have an undetectable viral load, you have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
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