The reason behind the desire to do an HIV test is important.
The inquiry may seem invasive but the interest is purely medical.
There is a difference if you are curious about your status or whether you have recently been exposed.
The screening tests are error-free but the unique personal reasons can affect their accuracy.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).
“Why” and “when” an HIV test is done is an important consideration in getting accurate results. These aspects can make it possible to get false test results.
Accurate results are important in terms of starting treatment to prevent HIV from advancing to AIDS.
What is being tested?
P24 is an antigen, foreign substance that activate the immune system.
When newly infected by HIV, before your body has a chance to make antibodies to the virus, there will be high levels of P24 present in the bloodstream.
One of the ways to know if you have been infected with HIV is to check for the presence of P24 in the bloodstream.
The sample required for this test is blood (either from the vein or finger prick) or oral fluid.
What is the window period?
The window period is how long you need to wait to get an accurate HIV test result.
This is the time in which the virus gets into the body and the point when it can be detected.
There is more than one test to screen for HIV, checking for different aspects like antigens, antibodies or viral load in the blood.
Each test has a different window period. The P24 Antigen test can detect HIV earlier than any other screening test.
When is the P24 Antigen test Accurate?
If the “why” behind taking an HIV test is exposure to the virus, “when” you take the test is important for you to receive accurate test results.
The HIV P24 antigen test is accurate, but it is dependent on when P24 is detectable in the bloodstream.
The window period for a P24 antigen test is about one to two weeks. Meaning, if you take an HIV P24 antigen test seven to fourteen days after exposure to HIV, you will get an accurate test result.
If there is a positive test result, there will always be a follow up test to confirm the diagnosis.
When is the P24 Antigen test not Accurate?
During the window period, before the virus is detectable in the blood, the P24 antigen test will not be accurate.
The P24 antigens also become undetectable after some time.
What happens is antibodies to HIV are produced and eliminate the P24 antigens from the bloodstream.
If a P24 antigen test is done at this point, the HIV test will be negative.
However, if the HIV is left untreated, P24 antigens will become detectable again and the test will produce accurate results once again.
Healthtracka offers HIV I & II P24 Antigen Test.