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How do antibody screening tests help diagnose HIV?

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These tests check for a kind of protein that your body makes in response to the HIV infection, 2-8 weeks later. They're also called immunoassay or ELISA tests. They're generally very accurate, but they won't catch early infections.

Usually, a technician will take a small blood sample and send it to a lab for testing. Some immunoassay tests check urine or fluids from your mouth (not saliva), but there aren't as many antibodies in these, so you may not get a positive result even if you're infected. (That's called a false negative.)

SOURCES:

CDC: "National HIV and STD Testing Resources: Frequently Asked Questions."

AVERT: "HIV Testing," "Continuing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment."

AIDS.gov: "HIV Test Types."

Home Access Health Corporation: "The Home Access HIV-1 Test System."

Patel, P. , "Rapid HIV screening: Missed opportunities for HIV diagnosis and prevention," May 2012. J Clin Virol

Aberg, J. , 2009. Clinical Infectious Diseases

FDA: "FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Home Use HIV Test Kit," "FDA approves first rapid diagnostic test to detect both HIV-1 antigen and HIV-1/2 antibodies," "Complete List of Donor Screening Assays for Infectious Agents and HIV Diagnostic Assays."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 25, 2016

SOURCES:

CDC: "National HIV and STD Testing Resources: Frequently Asked Questions."

AVERT: "HIV Testing," "Continuing antiretroviral (ARV) treatment."

AIDS.gov: "HIV Test Types."

Home Access Health Corporation: "The Home Access HIV-1 Test System."

Patel, P. , "Rapid HIV screening: Missed opportunities for HIV diagnosis and prevention," May 2012. J Clin Virol

Aberg, J. , 2009. Clinical Infectious Diseases

FDA: "FDA Approves First Over-the-Counter Home Use HIV Test Kit," "FDA approves first rapid diagnostic test to detect both HIV-1 antigen and HIV-1/2 antibodies," "Complete List of Donor Screening Assays for Infectious Agents and HIV Diagnostic Assays."

Reviewed by Lisa Bernstein on October 25, 2016

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How do antibody/antigen combination tests help diagnose HIV?

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