HIV can be diagnosed by blood or saliva tests. Tests available include:
antigen/antibody tests. These tests usually involve drawing blood from a vein. Antigens are substances of the HIV virus itself and are usually detectable in the blood (a positive test) a few weeks after exposure to HIV.
antibodies are produced by your immune system when you are exposed to HIV.It can take weeks or months for the antibodies to become detectable. Combined antigen/antibody tests can take 2 to 6 weeks after exposure to be positive.
antibody tests. These tests look for HIV antibodies in the blood or saliva. Most rapid HIV tests, including home tests, are antibody tests.Antibody tests can take 3 to 12 weeks after exposure to be positive.
Nucleic Acid Test (NAT). These tests look for the actual virus in your blood (viral load). They also involve drawing blood from a vein. If you have been exposed to HIV in the past few weeks, your doctor may recommend NAT.NAT will be the first test to be positive after exposure to HIV.
Talk to your doctor about which HIV test is right for you. If any of these tests are negative, you may need a follow-up test weeks or months later to coAids treatementnfirm the results.
Tests to determine disease status and treatment
If you have been diagnosed with HIV, it is important that you find a specialist who is trained in HIV diagnosis and treatment to help you:
Determine if you have additional Need testing
Determine which antiretroviral therapy (ART) for HIV may be best for you
Monitor your progress and work with you to manage your health :
CD4 T cell count. CD4 T cells are white blood cells that HIV targets and destroys. Even if you have no symptoms, HIV infection progresses to AIDS when your CD4 T-cell count falls below 200.
viral load (HIV RNA). This test measures the amount of virus in your blood.After starting HIV treatment, the goal is an undetectable viral load. This significantly reduces the risk of opportunistic infection and other HIV-related complications.
drug resistance. Some strains of HIV are resistant to drugs. This test will help your doctor determine if your specific form of the virus is resistant and guide treatment decisions.Tests to check for complications
Your healthcare provider may also order laboratory tests to check for other infections or complications, including:
*hepatitis B or hepatitis C virus infection
*liver or kidney damage
*urinary tract infection
*cervical and anal cancer