WHAT IS AN EARLY DETECTION HIV TEST?
The Early Detection HIV Test (HIV RNA, Quantitative PCR) is a blood test that looks at the RNA levels of the HIV virus in your blood.
WHAT IS THE PRICE FOR THE EARLY DETECTION HIV TEST?
*Price may vary by location – contact your local ANY LAB TEST NOW®
Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is the virus that can lead to the deadly disease AIDS (Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome). AIDS is the last phase of the HIV virus and is diagnosed by low CD4 and T cell counts that are crucial in helping the body to fight disease. The HIV virus is responsible for destroying these cells which leads to AIDS.
HIV is spread through the transmission of bodily fluids by sharing needles, syringes or other equipment used for illicit drugs, having unprotected sex with someone who is infected with HIV. Having multiple sex partners or the presence of sexually transmitted disease (STDs) also increases the risk of contracting HIV.
Previously HIV tests looked for antibodies to the HIV virus which can take weeks to develop. The HIV RNA Quantitative PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test targets a specific segment of the HIV gene that is a precursor of the virus which replicates in the genetic material of the host cell. The presence of the HIV RNA segment indicates infection with HIV and can be used to monitor the progress and prognosis of the infection. This test has been shown in clinical research to be highly specific and accurate.
WHY DO I NEED TO BE TESTED FOR HIV?
Have you had unprotected sex? Do you share needles used for illicit drugs? Have you recently been diagnosed with HIV?
It can take years for any symptoms to develop after becoming infected with HIV but the early detection HIV test can provide accurate test results within 10-14 days after being exposed to the virus and can be used as a baseline measurement to monitor treatment and progress of the disease. Without early detection of the HIV virus, treatment is delayed and anyone that comes into contact with an HIV infected person is also exposed to the disease. Getting tested quickly if you suspect that you have been exposed or have a lifestyle that puts you at risk for developing HIV is critical. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex putting men who have sex with other men at a higher risk.
Previous evidence shows that HIV progresses to AIDS within 10 years after becoming infected. Since 1996 powerful antiretroviral therapies have extended this period, allowing people who are infected with HIV to live longer without symptoms. Getting tested and beginning treatment early can have a significant impact on the path of the virus. There is no cure for HIV but the onset of symptoms can be delayed and those who are infected will know that they need to protect and inform their sexual partners.
Symptoms of an initial infection may mimic those of influenza, but many people who are infected may have no symptoms for years or have symptoms that look like other disease. The only way to be certain is to be tested for HIV. The HIV RNA Quantitative PCR test can also evaluate the prognosis of the disease regarding development of AIDS and long term health projections.
OTHER RELEVANT TESTS:
Those who come in for the Early Detection HIV Test may also want to consider one of the STD lab testing panels.
Measurement of the HIV RNA level is recommended at several intervals to monitor the treatment and progress of the HIV infection:
1. At the beginning of treatment (those with a recent diagnosis should receive this test as a baseline)
2. Every 3 to 6 months to monitor the progression of the disease in untreated patients
3. 2 to 8 weeks after the initiation of therapy and every 4 to 8 weeks after that to monitor the viral load (the level of HIV in the blood) to determine effectiveness of the treatment
4. 2 to 8 weeks after changing therapy
5. Every 6 to 12 months in stable patients to continue monitoring the effectiveness of treatment
A negative result is normal. A healthy individual has no HIV RNA.
HIGH RESULTS INDICATE:
A positive result is a high result and indicates HIV infection.
LOW RESULTS INDICATE:
There are no low results.
WHAT TYPE OF DOCTOR SHOULD I SEE?
You should see your primary care physician or an Infectious Disease specialist.