HIV Rapid Screening TestLast Updated on 18th January 2022
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What is the HIV rapid screening test used for?
This test is used:
- To detect HIV antibodies in blood samples or saliva samples generally provided in a few minutes.
- To screen for AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome) in high-risk individuals (people who use injections for drug abuse, share common needles, etc.)
- Monitoring HIV treatment in the infected individual for any improvement out of medication and changes in lifestyle.
- To confirm there is a risk of HIV infection in pregnant women.
What is included in the HIV rapid screening test?
HIV tests are performed by drawing blood from a vein in your arm or using a salivary or urine sample.
There are different types of HIV tests.
- NAT test looks for the presence of actual HIV in the individual’s blood. This test is costly but can detect the infection more than any other test.This test can be used to find the actual load of the virus in the blood. Since the test is costly, take the test if you already have HIV symptoms or are at high risk of getting exposed to HIV.
- The antigen-antibody test is another type of test to detect the presence of both HIV antigens and antibodies. When infected with HIV, an antigen called p24 is produced. Thus, the antigen test looks for the presence of p24 in your body. The results are confirmed by taking another test called the antibody test, which checks for antibodies developed for fighting HIV antigen.
- Antibody test checks for the presence of the antibodies developed against the HIV antigen in your body. Rapid antibody screening is the widely used and fastest test for detecting both types of HIV in your body.
Procedure for HIV rapid screening test
The HIV rapid screening test is performed by drawing blood from a vein in your arm or salivary sample. The sample received from the patient will be stored under optimum conditions until it is taken for the screening test. This test checks for the presence of the antibodies developed against the HIV antigen in your body. Rapid antibody screening is the widely used and fastest test for detecting both types of HIV in your body.
How to prepare for an HIV rapid screening test?
There is no special preparation required for the test. Please inform the doctor about pre-existing health conditions (if you have any other sexually transmitted disease, diabetes, high or low blood pressure, if you underwent an operation where immunosuppressive drugs were administered) and the medication you are taking for any other diseases health condition before taking the test.
There are no special precautions required for this test.
Things to consider after HIV rapid screening test is complete
Please stay calm while waiting for the results. Generally, the HIV rapid screening test takes only 30 – 40 minutes. The results can be either positive or negative or false positive/negative. Once you get the results report, kindly consult your doctor to interpret the results.
The test results are negative if it is taken at the early stage of infection. So, your doctor may advise you to take another test after 2 or 3 months.
If the test result is positive, the doctor or healthcare provider will ask you to take it one more time to confirm the results. If the positive result is confirmed, consult your doctor, take medication and check the viral load at regular intervals to check whether the medication is working or there needs to be any change in the medication regimen.
Usually, the doctors will begin Antiretroviral therapy for the treatment of HIV. This will help for the reduction of the viral load in blood. Once it is below the detectable limit, it is safer to have intercourse with a partner with protection. There will be no risk of viral transmission to your partner when safety precautions are taken.
What type of infections can an HIV rapid screening test detect?
HIV causes AIDS, restraining the body’s capacity to fight against infections. This test helps provide an easy diagnosis of HIV infection by measuring the levels of related antibodies.
But the infection can be detected only after 3–4 weeks of acquiring HIV in the individual’s blood. The earlier stage of the infection may give false-negative results. Thus, a test has to be taken after a month approximately to confirm the results.
How much does an HIV rapid screening test cost?
HIV testing charges will be covered under the medical insurance in most policies. If you don’t have medical insurance, try to book an appointment with the MFine app. The lab technician will visit your home directly and collect the sample.
You can also download test result reports by logging into the portal and consulting a doctor if needed. Generally, the cost of the test varies based on the location, type of test conducted, and your lab partner. The average cost of an HIV test starts from 100 and varies up to 5000 based on the location and test.
*Disclaimer: The value varies based on location, time, and your preferred lab partner.
How long does it take to get the HIV rapid screening test results?
You can expect to get the HIV rapid screening test results within 24 to 48 hours after the sample is collected. However, in some instances, depending on the location, medical advice, and preferred lab partner, it may take longer.
What do abnormal HIV rapid screening test results indicate?
Abnormal results may indicate positive for HIV. That may even occur due to the interference of other antibodies in the test for HIV antigen. This will be confirmed by repeating the test again to ensure the results. If positive on repetition, the abnormal result can indicate the presence of HIV. It is advised to always consult with your doctor before interpreting the test reports.
Disclaimer: Please consult with your doctor to interpret the test reports.
Is HIV rapid screening a definitive test?
The HIV rapid screening test is not a definitive test since it is based on antigen and antibody interaction. The positive result is confirmed using the ELISA test (Antigen-antibody interaction), and a western blot for confirmation follows it.
How to read the HIV rapid screening report?
- A normal test result means there is no HIV infection in your blood. This means the results are negative. A negative result indicates that there is an absence of HIV antibodies in your blood. Normal results are named negative.
- The test has to be taken after at least one month of exposure to confirm the results. If the repeated test also shows negative results, it means there is no infection.
- Indeterminate test results are not very clear. This may be due to the testing taken at an early stage, even before HIV antibodies develop. Or it may be due to the interference of another type of antibody with the results making it unclear. In this case, also, you will have to order another test.
- An abnormal result is also called HIV positive. The positive result shows that you have HIV antibodies in your blood. These results are called abnormal results.
- The test is repeated to confirm the positive results on the same blood sample. If results are positive, that should be confirmed by another type of test. This is because false-positive results could also appear during the test.
Why book HIV rapid screening tests?
It is always better to confirm to ensure your safer health. That will enable you to commence treatment as soon as possible. You have to book a test in case you have the following conditions:
- If you have symptoms of HIV or If you have got exposed to Hiv positive individual
- If you have been already detected with HIV infection and want to know the effectiveness of medication on reducing viral load
- If you are pregnant and to ensure your child doesn’t get affected with HIV infection
- If you are planning for getting pregnant and suspicious of your partner
- If you are donating your blood to a blood bank or a person in surgical need
- If you are planning to donate your organ for transplantation
HIV rapid screening test at home – how does it work?
The HIV rapid screening test is just like any other blood test. A lab technician visits your home when you book your tests through the MFine app. The lab technician first cleans the arm and then inserts a syringe into a vein. The required amount of blood is then taken into a vial. The lab technician then removes the needle and places cotton wool or a bandage over the prick.
Are there any risks involved with an HIV rapid screening test?
There is no risk involved in testing for HIV rapid screening method.
What can affect the results of HIV rapid screening?
The results may get affected due to the interference of other antibodies in the test for HIV antigen. This will be confirmed by repeating the test again to ensure the results. If the abnormal result is positive on repetition as well, it may indicate the presence of HIV. It is advised to always consult with your doctor to interpret the test reports.
The other factor that may affect results can be administering any immunosuppressive drugs. But none of the following will affect the results: eating, drinking before the test, consuming alcohol, or taking a vaccine.
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Frequently Asked Questions | FAQs
Q. Is the lab technician coming for HIV rapid screening sample collection vaccinated?
Yes. Our lab technicians are fully vaccinated. Further, they also ensure safety throughout by wearing a mask, gloves and frequently sanitising themselves during the sample collection.
Q. Does MFine provide the interpretation for the results along with the reports?
Yes, MFine provides the interpretation for the result along with the reports. You can also avail a free medical consultation with a doctor to understand your reports accurately. The doctor will also advise and prescribe medicines, if required, based on the results.
Q. How can I download my HIV rapid screening test report?
- Login to MFine
- Go to your profile
- Click on Attachment and Reports
- Click on Lab Report
- Download the report
Q. Are there any discount offers running on HIV rapid screening tests?
Usually, you can avail of up to a 50% discount through MFine. However, the discount and test price may vary based on lab partner and location.
Q. What are the symptoms of AIDS?
AIDS may cause symptoms like- unexplained fever, fatigue, weight loss, night sweats, recurrent infections, oral thrush, ulcers, joint pain, etc.
Q. Is it required to get an HIV rapid test during pregnancy?
Yes, you may also have this test if you are pregnant or planning to become one to avoid the higher risks of HIV infection.
Q. What are the stages of HIV infection?
Stage 1:Acute Infection with symptoms
Stage 2: Asymptomatic or chronic infection
Stage 3: AIDS/Progression of HIV to AIDS.
Q. What does HIV do to a person?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that attacks the immune system. (The immune system fights infections and diseases in a person’s body.) Over time, HIV weakens a person’s immune system.
Q. What is a ‘false negative’ test result?
A false-negative test result occurs when the test shows negative, while the person is actually HIV positive.
Q. What is a ‘false positive’ test result?
A false-positive test is when the test result shows positive, while the person is actually HIV negative. This can happen with antibody tests when the test picks up antibodies for other infectious agents.
Disclaimer: The content is uniquely informative and is meant for educational use. Kindly use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified or registered healthcare provider.