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HTLV 1&2 Antibodies Blood Test

Sample Report
Specimen Types: Blood,Hair


HTLV 1&2 Antibodies Blood Test

This test looks for antibodies which the body develops in response to infection with the Human T-Cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV).  HTLV infects white blood cells which are important to the body’s immune system.  HTLV infection can be responsible for the development of a number of conditions including Leukemia, Lymphoma, and nervous system disorders.  The HTLV 1&2 Abs test detects and differentiates both type 1 and type 2 HTLV infections.

An estimated 15-20 million people worldwide suffer from HTLV infections.  HTLV is typically spread through sexual contact and exposure to infected blood, especially through intravenous drug use.  Infected mothers can spread the infection to their infants during pregnancy or breast feeding.  After infection, HTLV will remain in the body for life.  Some people will develop HTLV related illnesses months or years after their initial exposure.  Most HTLV infections show no symptoms.  An infected person can spread the virus to others even if they are asymptomatic. 

Risk factors for HTLV infection include:

  • Having multiple sexual partners
  • Being an IV drug user
  • Having a history of blood transfusions
  • Living in or having a sexual partner from parts of the world where HTLV is prevalent such as Southwestern Japan, parts of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Southeastern U.S.

HTLV testing is typically ordered to help identify or rule out HTLV as the cause of conditions such as Leukemia, Lymphoma, or nervous system disorders.  It can also be ordered by people who are concerned they have had an exposure to HTLV especially if they have been with someone who has also tested positive for HTLV antibodies..  Due to the common lack of symptoms, testing is recommended for anyone who engages in high risk activities.     

Turnaround time for the HTLV 1&2 Antibodies test is typically 3-5 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.

Incubation Period:

The incubation period for HTLV varies from method of contact or exposure.


The HTLV test has no fasting requirements.



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