Views:1552 Author:Site Editor Publish Time: 2016-03-02 Origin:Site
What is a Rapid HIV Test?
The Rapid HIV test that M Clinic uses screens for HIV antibodies, but rather than waiting a week for your HIV test results, you’re able to get a result in 10 minutes – that’s what makes it rapid.
How does the rapid testing process work?
The Rapid Test reacts in the presence of HIV antibodies which are produced by the body after HIV has entered the bloodstream. A rapid test involves a painless finger prick and then transfer of two drops of blood to a testing device. Two drops of solution are added to help the test work properly, and a timer is set. While waiting for the results, there is a discussion about your risk for HIV and other STIs.
Does a rapid test have a window period like a standard HIV test?
Yes. Although the result can be delivered very quickly, a standard window period still applies for rapid HIV testing. This means that any exposure you may have had to HIV in the three months prior to your test will not be covered by the Rapid HIV Test.
Is rapid HIV testing accurate?
Yes – rapid tests are extremely accurate, above 99% accurate, in fact. If the test does not react, this is a ‘non-reactive’ result. This means you’re HIV-negative as of 3 months ago, taking into account the window period.
What about “False Positives”?
The rapid HIV test is very sensitive. This ensures that if HIV antibodies are present in a blood sample, the test will always react. But because the tests are so sensitive, very occasionally the test reacts when there are no HIV antibodies present. This is known as a ‘false positive.’ A reactive Rapid HIV test ALWAYS needs to be confirmed by laboratory tests.
Is a standard blood test for HIV required?
Yes – the Rapid HIV Test is not a diagnostic test, so results need to be confirmed on a standard blood test to give you a confirmatory result. The standard blood test for HIV also has a shorter window period than the Rapid HIV Test, meaning it can detected a more recent HIV infection than the Rapid HIV Test can.
But a negative result would mean I’m HIV-negative?
A non-reactive result means you are HIV-negative up to three months ago. To have a clear picture about your HIV status, you would need to test regularly, always taking into account the window period.
M Clinic staff are available to answer any other questions you may have about Rapid HIV testing.