Which HIV Test is Best? HIV Screening vs HIV-1 and 2 Antigen Test?

Each and every person should be tested for HIV at least once in their lifetime. Depending on the risk, the time frame can even come down to every few months. HIV is a real public health issue, in 2018 UNAIDS estimated that there are 1.9 million Nigerians living with HIV.

Some people think there is no need to take an HIV test. In their reasoning, if they had it, they would have gotten sick. It is possible to show no symptoms for 10 to 15 years without any treatment. Your decision to test is an important one. For your own health and that of your future sexual partners and children. There is more than one test that screens for HIV. Which one should you choose?

HIV Screening

HIV Screening is also known as a Rapid Test and is used to identify an HIV infection. An HIV rapid test can detect HIV antibodies in blood or oral fluid in less than 30 minutes. A rapid test is appropriate for those who are at a higher risk of contracting HIV. These people will need to do the test more frequently (i.e. every 3 months). This test is a more affordable option and it is quick. For those who are showing AIDS symptoms and they have an unknown HIV status, a rapid test will be used.

HIV I & II + P24  Antigen Test

When a person is newly infected by HIV, high levels of an antigen known as P24 are present in the blood. Antigens are foreign substances that cause your immune system to activate. The identification of P24 makes this test useful in diagnosing an HIV infection. An advantage of the P24 is that it can detect an HIV infection days earlier. This test is suitable if you have recently been exposed to HIV. The test may also be used to monitor Anti-HIV therapy to evaluate the disease progression.

As stated, though the tests are different, both the above tests identify an HIV infection. While HIV screening results are produced faster, HIV I & II + P24 Antigen Test can detect HIV in the blood earlier.  A rapid test is done with blood from a finger prick or oral fluid. An  HIV I & II + P24  Antigen test can be carried out with blood from your vein or from a finger prick. Whichever test you choose, if the result does come out as positive, there will need to be a follow up HIV test to confirm the diagnosis.

In the past, a person had to go to a hospital or a health center to be tested for HIV. This made some people apprehensive about testing. Now, you can book a test with Healthtracka and have an HIV test done in the comfort of your home. The HIV screening and the HIV I & II + P24  Antigen tests can be carried out accurately and privately outside of a lab and health center.

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