Hide This

FREEHER HealthToolkit

HER Health Toolkit

Sign up for EmpowHER updates and you'll receive our
FREE HER Health Toolkit

Sexual Health

Get Email Updates

Related Checklists

Sexual Health Guide

Susan Cody HERWriter Guide

Have a question? We're here to help. Ask the Community.

ASK

Health Newsletter

Receive the latest and greatest in women's health and wellness from EmpowHER - for free!

What are the Screening Tests for HIV Infection?

By Stacy Lloyd HERWriter
 
Rate This
What are the Screening Tests for HIV Infection? 0 5
what are HIV screening tests?
Elenaphotos21/PhotoSpin

Experts agree that human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) testing is essential in stopping the spread of the disease. There are three main types of HIV tests: antibody tests, RNA tests, and a combination test. All tests are designed to detect HIV-1, which is overwhelmingly the most common type of HIV in the United States.

Antibody tests look for HIV antibodies in the body, rather than looking for HIV itself. Unfortunately, these HIV antibodies do not eliminate the virus, but their presence serves as a marker to show HIV infection.

The common screening test for HIV is a blood test known as the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) or enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). Antibody tests may also use oral fluid (not saliva) or urine to detect HIV antibodies. Oral fluid is collected by swabbing the gums or inside cheek area.

There are also home HIV antibody tests. Currently the Home Access HIV-1 Test System is the only home blood test approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This is a sample-collection kit, not a true HIV testing kit.

A drop of blood is added to a test strip and then mailed to a laboratory. At a later date, one calls the lab for results. The FDA also approved a kit that tests for antibodies in oral fluid called OraQuick.

The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test detects specific deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and ribonucleic acid (RNA) sequences that indicate the presence of HIV in the genetic structure of someone infected with HIV.

The HIV combination test detects antibodies directed against HIV-1 or HIV-2, as well as a protein called p24, which forms part of the core of the virus. It takes weeks for antibodies to form after the initial infection, even though the virus and the p24 protein is present in the blood. Thus, combination testing may allow for earlier HIV detection.

Rapid HIV testing uses blood, oral fluid (not saliva), or urine to detect HIV antibodies and allows results to be ready in 5-30 minutes.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wrote that the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test can provide rapid results at home. This involves swabbing the mouth for an oral fluid sample and then testing it.

Add a CommentComments

There are no comments yet. Be the first one and get the conversation started!

Image CAPTCHA
Enter the characters shown in the image.
By submitting this form, you agree to EmpowHER's terms of service and privacy policy

We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.

Improved

1998 Health

Changed

855 Lives

Saved

723 Lives
19 lives impacted in the last 24 hrs Learn More

Take Our Featured Health Poll

Do you think sex gets better as you age? :
View Results