How Does Rna Test Work
At its most basic level, the HIV RNA test is done simply by checking the blood for HIV RNA, but the precise mechanisms used to check the blood are a little more complicated. Getting into the exact scientific method behind this style of test could take pages and pages, so we will just provide a quick overview of how it works.
HIV RNA testing is done with a polymerase chain reaction. In this method, an automated device combines carefully measured amounts of various chemicals in a test tube with the patients sample. The polymerase chemicals copy any DNA and RNA from the sample to create easily readable genetic information from even small bits of RNA. Polymerase chain reaction is a very useful way to read accurate genetic information even from a minute sample, so it lets scientists identify whether or not there is any HIV RNA in a patients sample.
How Are Testing Technologies Used To Diagnose Hiv Infection
To test for HIV, a sample of a persons blood is taken. With the most common test, a vial of blood taken from a vein is sent to a laboratory to be tested for HIV . There are also rapid tests available, which use a drop of blood from a finger prick to test for HIV immediately after the sample is taken.
What Are Hiv Symptoms
Many people who have HIV may not experience symptoms weeks, months, or years after infection. According to the CDC, nearly 40% of new HIV infections are transmitted by people unaware they have the virus. Symptoms may start out mild and flu-like. While the viral load of HIV in the blood increases, the individuals CD4+ count will start to fall. This makes the individual vulnerable to infections and opportunistic illnesses like tuberculosis and candidiasis.
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The Importance Of Early Detection For Hiv
The human immunodeficiency virus can be spread through many types of bodily fluids. HIV is no longer an absolute death sentence like it was in the eighties, but it is still a very serious infection. If you do not know you have HIV, the illness can progress and eventually cause AIDS. This leads to a variety of problems like severe infection, sweating, fatigue, weight loss, and cancer.
Because HIV can be dangerous if left untreated, you need to be able to find out if you have it as soon as possible, The most effective form of HIV treatment, antiretroviral therapy, will work the best if you can begin taking it before you experience any symptoms. With proper treatment and care, you can avoid ever developing AIDS even if you are HIV positive. Prompt treatment can keep other serious complications of HIV, like certain cancers and opportunistic infections, from developing too.
Early detection is also essential because it helps you to avoid infecting anyone else. Once you begin treatment, your HIV viral load will decrease, reducing the chance of you infecting someone. You will also be properly informed, so you can take steps to keep your sexual partners from ending up with HIV. Getting tested and diagnosed with HIV as soon as possible is the right choice for both you and your loved ones.
Will Every Hiv Patient Eventually Get Aids
With todayâs medical advances and understanding, most HIV infected patients wonât develop AIDS as long as they strictly maintain their antiretroviral therapy. Though this is true in most cases, there are times when AIDS is inevitable and canât be prevented.
Regardless the person or case, however, chances are always without a doubt improved with good medical care and early detection.
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Hiv Tests For Screening And Diagnosis
HIV tests are very accurate, but no test can detect the virus immediately after infection. How soon a test can detect HIV depends upon different factors, including the type of test being used. There are three types of HIV diagnostic tests: nucleic acid tests , antigen/antibody tests, and antibody tests.
An initial HIV test;usually will either be an antigen/antibody test or an antibody test. If the initial HIV test is a rapid test or a self-test;and it is positive, the individual should go to a health care provider to get follow-up testing. If the initial HIV test is a laboratory test and it is positive, the laboratory will usually conduct follow-up testing on the same blood sample as the initial test. Although HIV tests are generally very accurate,;follow-up testing;allows the health care provider to be sure the diagnosis is right.
Resources for FDA-approved laboratory tests, self-tests, and testing of self-collected samples are available. Learn more about testing in nonclinical settings and screening in clinical settings.
How Often Should I Get Tested
Men who have sex with men may benefit from more frequent testing .
Many people have HIV for years and dont know it. People with a higher risk of contracting HIV should get tested more frequently. Even if you are in a monogamous relationship, consider getting tested with your partner.
Its also a good idea for pregnant people to get tested. If they have HIV, treatment can help prevent transmission during pregnancy.
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Where Can I Go For Hiv Testing
You can get tested for HIV and other STDs at your doctors office, a community health clinic, the health department, or your local Planned Parenthood health center. You might want to get your HIV test at a place that also has HIV counseling .
You can either get an anonymous” or “confidential HIV test, depending on the laws in the state that you live in. Confidential” testing means your name is on the test, and the results go in your medical records. Your doctors and insurance company may also see the results. If you test positive, your results are sent to your local health department so they know the rates of HIV in your area. But your results are protected by privacy laws, so nobody else can see them without your permission.
“Anonymous” testing means your name isnt on the test. Youll get an ID number that youll use to find out your results. Your results wont go in your medical records, and they wont be sent to your insurance company or the health department youre the only one who will know them.
STD testing, including HIV testing, isnt usually automatically part of your regular checkup or gynecologist exam you have to ask for it directly. Be honest with your nurse or doctor so they can help you figure out what tests are best for you. Dont be embarrassed: your doctor is there to help, not to judge.
Two Common Hiv Screening Approaches
Here we discuss two different testing approaches for HIV screening.
Screening is done to find the infection although the patient is not symptomatic.
Both approaches are widely used. Which one is used depends on test availability and the timing of sexual contact. Letâs talk about each approach in more detail.
New testing approach
The fourth-generation HIV testfor Ag and Ab is the preferred test for HIV screening and is currently widely used.
What it detects
This test can detect the antibody and antigen at the same time.
When it is preferred
The P 24 antigen can be seen a bit earlier in the disease process, which is why the accuracy of this test is better for early HIV detection than that of an Ab test.
- If the test is negative
- If the fourth-generation test is negative and done after enough time has passed since exposure, no other testing is necessary.
Old testing approach
This test is more widely available and costs less.
What it detects
The test check for HIV Ab 1 and 2
When it is preferred
This test is excellent for detecting an existing STD but not for detecting early HIV detection since early on, production of antibodies has not begun, and the test might have been performed during a time when it is not accurate.
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Who Can Be Tested With The Hiv Rna Test
- Anyone who is known to have potential Exposure to HIV-1 in the past 12 weeks thru
- Unprotected sex
- High risk behavior by sharing non-sterile needles
- Exposure to HIV infected blood
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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Get Tested Regularly If You Are At Greater Risk Of Hiv
If you are at greater risk of HIV get tested regularly.;;
Gay, bisexual, trans and other men who have sex with men should get tested every 3 months . This may vary depending on how many sexual partners you have during the year.;
Talk with your doctor or sexual health specialist for advice. They can also provide information about how to reduce your risk for HIV and other STIs.
How Accurate Is The Hiv Rna Test
When a person becomes initially infected with HIV, the body begins to replicate the HIV very fast as the immune system has yet to be compromised. If a RNA test appears to be inconclusive, a viral load test will determine whether a recent exposure actually exists. Since it is the RNA itself that contains certain codes which allows the virus to replicate itself, viral load tests are very accurate down to as low as 20 copies/milliliter.
So what does this mean for you and your results? If you take your test within 9-11 days after a possible exposure, you decrease your chances of having a false positive as the HIV RNA test is not reliable before this time, 90% accurate during this window and 99% accurate around 28 days after exposure.
Your testing facility will alert you of the need to have more blood drawn, should additional testing be recommended.
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If I Test Positive For Hiv What Follow
If you are HIV-positive, follow-up tests may include the following:
- HIV viral load testingmeasures the amount of HIV in the blood.;It is performed when you are first diagnosed to help determine the status of the disease and is ordered at intervals to monitor the effectiveness of therapy.
- CD4 countmeasures the number of CD4 T-cells in the blood. It is ordered when you are first diagnosed to get a baseline assessment of your immune system and it is done at intervals to monitor therapy and the status of the immune system.
- HIV antiretroviral drug resistance testing, genotypicordered when you are initially diagnosed to determine whether the particular strain of HIV that you have is resistant to certain antiretroviral drug therapies. This testing is also ordered when treatment is changed or when there is evidence of treatment failure.
What Does This Mean For Me
For most people, the best time to test is 3 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner. If the test is negative, there is a good chance you do not have HIV from that sexual contact.
If you test at 6 weeks after having unprotected sex with a new partner, and that test is negative, there is a 99% chance you do not have HIV from that sexual exposure.
With any HIV test, you should test again at 3 months to be sure.
Because HIV and other sexually transmitted infection rates are high in gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, routine screening every 3 months is recommended.
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What Is Being Tested
Human immunodeficiency virus is the virus that can cause acquired immunodeficiency syndrome . HIV screening tests detect the HIV antigen and/or HIV antibodies produced by the body in response to an HIV infection in the blood. Some tests detect HIV antibodies in saliva.
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 you have been infected is through HIV testing.
If left untreated, an HIV infection can progressively destroy the body’s ability to fight infections and certain cancers. HIV weakens the immune system by infecting lymphocytes , a type of white blood cell, that normally help the body fight infections.
During the first few weeks following infection with HIV, the virus infects T-cells, making numerous copies of itself and continuing to infect more T-cells. The amount of virus and the p24 antigen level in blood can be quite high. HIV tests that detect the p24 antigen can generally identify infections in the first weeks after infection, even before antibodies develop.
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. HIV tests that detect HIV antibodies can identify HIV infections about 2 to 8 weeks after infection.
What Are The Treatments For Hiv/aids
Currently, there is no cure for HIV infection or AIDS. However, early diagnosis allows for treatment with antiretroviral therapy that can help to suppress levels of virus in your body and greatly improve your long-term health. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services as well as the World Health Organization recommend that all individuals diagnosed with HIV infection receive treatment as soon as possible, including pregnant women. With advances in treatment, individuals with HIV infection are living longer, healthier lives.
People typically take at least three drugs from two different classes in order to prevent or minimize virus replication and the emergence of drug-resistant strains. Combinations of three or more antiretroviral drugs are referred to as highly active antiretroviral therapy or HAART. Read the Treatment section of the article on HIV Infection and AIDS for additional details.
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How Accurate Are Hiv Tests
HIV tests are very accurate. Once confirmatory testing has been performed, the chance of a positive result being false is essentially zero.
Sensitivity and specificity
Sensitivity and specificity are measures of the accuracy of an HIV test.
Sensitivity is the chance that a positive test result will correctly indicate that a person has HIV. This means that if the person has HIV, the test will detect it. Higher sensitivity means there is a lower chance of a false-negative result .
Specificity is the chance that a negative test result will correctly indicate that a person does not have HIV. This means that if the person does not have HIV, the test result will be negative. Higher specificity means there is a lower chance of a false-positive result .
HIV screening tests used in Canada all have a sensitivity of up to 99.9%. In other words, if 1,000 HIV-positive people were tested for HIV, 999 would correctly test positive and one would incorrectly test negative. High sensitivity is ideal for a screening test because it effectively rules out people who dont have HIV . Since the vast majority of people who get tested for HIV are actually HIV negative, the chance of a negative result being false is extremely low.
The Geenius assay has a specificity of 100%. This means that the chance of a false-positive result after confirmatory testing is essentially zero.
Where Can I Get An Hiv Test
Depending on where you are in the world, there are a number of places that you can get tested for HIV.;The best first step is to search online for “HIV testing, plus your location. This will generally give you a good idea of where to go, or at least give you a starting point.
If you have limited internet access, its always worth asking local sexual health charities or health professionals what is available in your area. They should be able to direct you to somewhere where you can test for free. The image below has some examples of the types of places that might offer HIV testing.
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Who Should Get An Hiv Test
The CDC recommends that everyone in the United States between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once.
You should be tested more often — at least once a year — if youâre at higher risk of getting HIV, including if you:
- Have had several sexual partners
- Had unprotected sex with someone who is or could be HIV-positive, including someone whose sexual history you don’t know
- Injected drugs with a needle, syringe, or other device that someone else used first
- Have had or are getting tested for tuberculosis, hepatitis, or any sexually transmitted disease, including syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, or herpes
- Have had sex for drugs or money
- Had sex with someone who has a history of any of these