In order for a person to know their HIV status is through taking a HIV test. A person who thinks they may have been infected with the virus should take the test as soon as possible within the three months window.The four common types of HIV tests are: Antibody, PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction), Antigen and the Home Kits.
HIV Antibody Tests
There are many unique proteins in the HIV virus and when someone is infected with HIV their body produces antibodies aimed at neutralizing the virus. The antibodies do not eliminate the virus but they help to serve as a marker to show if someone in infected with the virus. This type of testing is done on blood samples. In most instances the test is done on an enzyme-linked assay called an EIA or ELISA. In the antibody test the serum of the person is allowed to react with the proteins of the virus that were produced in the laboratory. For a person who has been infected with HIV, the serum’s antibodies will bind to the HIV proteins.see more from http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/guantanamo/article32998299.html
Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Tests
The PCR tests are used on blood samples. This test is commonly used on newborn babies who are born to HIV positive mothers. The PCR tests are costly and are so not usually used for routine screening of a person. The polymerase chain reaction test is also one which can detect the virus as soon as four weeks of infection. The PCR test is also sometimes referred to as the RNA test – it detects the infection as soon as it appears in a person’s bloodstream, before the body is able to develop the antibodies. It therefore tests the virus directly and not the antibodies like the previous test.
Antigen HIV Test
The antigen test is also sometimes called the p24 antigen test. P24 is a viral protein which is a distinctive HIV antigen.This protein is what makes up most of the HIV viral core. In order for the antigen test to be accurate a person has to be tested within one to three weeks of being infected. The test is aimed at detecting the high levels of p24 which are present in a person’s blood serum during the period of infection and sero-conversion.
The Home HIV tests are the Home Access HIV-1 Test and the OraQuick In-Home HIV Test. Both tests are approved by the FDA but use different ways to test for the virus. The Home Access HIV-1 Test uses a blood sample which the person is required to send to a licensed laboratory so that it can be tested and then they can call in for the results. The latter test uses a fluid sample as the person swabs their mouth for an oral fluid which is immediately tested with the equipment in the kit. The results of this test are ready in twenty (20) minutes and for a positive result a follow up test with a doctor is required.learn more here!