HIV Testing

by Rachel Bhan

HIV by itself is not a illness and need not result in AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). This is proved by many, who live long without contracting AIDS for a long period. Though, the virus is the stepping stone to the disease, it is treatable. AIDS results in inefficiency in fighting the invading infections and cancer.

The most common HIV test is the highly sensitive HIV antibody test or ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) tests, having 99.5 % accuracy and which detects the virus in an individual. HIV antibody tests are specifically made for usual diagnostic testing, as they are cost effective and extremely precise.

Antigen test is also a common procedure. Antigens are the substances found on an alien invader or germ that stimulates the antibody production in the body. The antigen that initiates an antibody response in HIV is the protein P24.

The third type of test is a RNA / DNA test, which detects the genetic material of HIV and identifies the virus within a week of infection are less used, as they are expensive and complicated. DNA/RNA tests come in numerous forms. RNA test known as NAT (Nucleic Acid-amplification Testing) is commonly used to diagnose blood supplies.

Radio Immuno Precipitation Assay (RIPA) is another confirmatory blood test used during variable antibody levels. Other tests include Rapid Latex Agglutination Assay , a simple, cost effective blood test in detecting the virus. The initial course of entry for the virus is by breaking the immunity power of the body. The immune system weakens, in course of time and the body suffers from fighting diseases. This opens the risk of other diseases and infections.

The presence of the human immunodeficiency virus in serum, saliva, or urine is detected by these tests. Five in a minute are entering the portals of suffering from this disease. Special proteins are produced, when the virus gains entry in the body. The presence of these antibodies, determine the presence of the virus. Antibodies are detectable within 6 to 12 weeks of incubation. There is rarity in cases, developing the antibodies, much later than 6 months.

A test results positive in HIV antibodies does not infer the presence of AIDS. HIV is contracted through blood and bodily fluids such as, blood, vaginal secretions and semen.

Unsafe blood transmission, without proper care cause AIDS. Abstinence from usage of unchecked blood is a sure way of prevention. Intercourse with the contaminated person, division or sharing of used needles from an infected person results in virus transmission.

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