The HIV RNA test is used to detect HIV genetic material in the blood. This test provides qualitative results, meaning it will come back with a positive or negative. Because HIV RNA is often detectable earlier than the antibodies a person's body develops, this test is sometimes used as a screening when someone is concerned they may have had a recent exposure. An HIV RNA test can also be used as a confirmatory test for someone who has had positive results from an HIV screening.
HIV, or the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, attacks the immune system by destroying T-Cells. In time, HIV may lead to the development of AIDS. The HIV virus is spread through exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids, usually during sexual contact or intravenous drug use. HIV testing is recommended for anyone who is sexually active, especially those who engage in high risk behaviors. Early HIV infections may display flu-like symptoms, but often show no symptoms at all. HIV infections that go undiagnosed threaten not only the person who is infected but everyone they may potentially spread the virus to.
While the HIV RNA test is most commonly ordered as a confirmation for someone who has had positive results from previous HIV testing, it can be used as a screening for someone who believes their potential exposure is too recent for other tests to pick up. Customers who require a viral load test which provides a numerical result may wish to order the HIV RNA Quantitative test.
The HIV RNA test is also included in the Recent Exposure Comprehensive testing package.
Turnaround time for the HIV RNA test is typically 3-6 business days.
Note: Result turn around times are an estimate and are not guaranteed. Our reference lab may need additional time due to weather, holidays, confirmation/repeat testing, or equipment maintenance.
The HIV RNA test is typically most accurate at 3 weeks past the point of exposure or any time after. In some people it may be detectable earlier.
This test has no special requirements.
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