HIV 1 & 2 4th Gen Antigen/Antibody Blood Test
HIV 1 & 2 4th Gen Antigen/Antibody Blood Test (Labcorp)
The HIV 4th Generation Blood Test is the most commonly ordered test to screen for infection with the HIV virus. This test has the quickest turnaround of any HIV test and typically sees results in just 1-2 business days. The 4th generation HIV test is an improvement over the previous generation of testing which only looked for antibodies to the HIV virus. This updated testing method looks for both antibodies and the p24 Antigen which is specific to HIV. The p24 Antigen is a viral protein that makes up the majority of the HIV viral core (capsid). Whereas HIV antibodies are typically detectable at 4-12 weeks from exposure, the P24 antigen can be detected as early as 3 weeks from exposure and even sooner in some people. The combination of screening for both antibodies and antigen allow this test to detect a significantly higher number of early infections than previous generations of HIV screening. The 4th gen test can be used to screen for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is by far the most common form of HIV in the United States and the world. HIV-2 is mainly present in Western Africa but has appeared in other parts of the world as well.
In the event that the antigen/antibody test detects something, additional confirmatory testing will be automatically performed at no extra cost. If the initial screening comes back positive, it will be run again multiple times. If any of the additional runs come back with a positive result, an HIV 1&2 Antibody Differentiation test will automatically be run. The Antibody Differentiation test provides separate results for antibodies to both HIV-1 and HIV-2. If the Ab Differentiation test has a negative or indeterminate result, a Qualitative HIV 1 and 2 RNA test will be run. This test looks for the genetic material of the HIV virus. The inclusion of this confirmatory testing increases the accuracy of the test results and helps to lessen the possibility of a false-positive result.
Turnaround for this test is typically 1-2 business days but will be longer if additional testing is necessary.
What is HIV?
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It is spread through exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids, primarily through sexual contact and the sharing of needles during intravenous drug use. Other methods such as blood transfusions from donors that have not been properly screened and the use of piercing or tattoo implements that have not been properly sterilized can also spread the virus. HIV damages the immune system making it easier to become seriously ill or even die from infections that the body would normally be able to fight off.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
HIV infections may initially cause only mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. When symptoms do occur, they typically develop within a few weeks of the initial infection. Common symptoms include fever, sore throat, headache, swollen lymph nodes, tiredness, and rash. These symptoms may last from a week to a month and usually clear up on their own. Most people will not have any further symptoms for years. If not treated, the HIV virus will continue to destroy and weaken the immune system. In time, HIV can cause AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.) Symptoms of AIDS include rapid weight loss, unexplained fatigue, night sweats, chills or fever, prolonged swelling in the lymph nodes, chronic diarrhea, persistent headaches, and recurrent infections.
How is HIV treated?
HIV cannot be cured but treatment can slow the damage the virus causes and greatly increase the chances of living a normal lifespan. Blood testing can help to identify an infection so that a person and their doctor can determine the appropriate treatment as soon as possible.
Who should get an HIV test?
HIV screening is recommended for anyone who is sexually active. People between the ages of 18-65 should be tested at least once. Those with higher risk factors should be tested more frequently. Risk factors include having new or multiple sex partners, men having sex with men, having unprotected sex with someone who is high-risk for HIV, sharing needles during drug use, developing symptoms of an STD/STI, having had another type of STD since your last HIV test, having Hepatitis or Tuberculosis (TB), being concerned that you have been exposed to an STD. Anyone who learns that a past or present partner has tested positive for HIV should receive an HIV test themselves. Prenatal testing for HIV is recommended for pregnant women due to the risk of passing the infection to their infants. Early detection is key to effective HIV treatment, so it is advisable to be tested even if you are not experiencing symptoms.
Are there any risks involved with this test?
There is no risk involved in getting this test. You will be asked to give a blood sample at the lab.
Where can I find a HIV 1&2 4th Gen Antigen/Antibody test near me?
Check our lab finder to locate a collection site in your area.
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.
This test screens for both antibodies to HIV and the P24 Antigen.
The P24 Antigen is typically detectable by 3 weeks from exposure and may be detectable earlier for some people. Antibodies to HIV are typically detectable by 12 weeks after exposure and may be detectable as early as 4 weeks from exposure for some people.
It is recommended that someone taking Biotin (also known as vitamin B7 or B8, vitamin H, or coenzyme R) stop consumption at least 72 hours prior to the collection of a sample.
If you believe you have been exposed to HIV, it is recommended to seek help from a medical professional immediately. It may take at least several weeks from the point of exposure for blood testing to accurately identify an infection. Treatment within 3 days of possible exposure may lower the chance of developing an HIV infection.HIV TEST OVERVIEW
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