If you think you’ve been exposed to the HIV virus, or you are/were in a high risk situation where your partner was infected, many doctors recommend the HIV RNA early detection testing. Unlike other tests that measure the body's response to the virus, (antibody production as an attempt to fight off the virus), HIV RNA early detection tests measure the actual virus in the body itself before the body has a chance to react.
- Viral load is usually high enough 9-11 days after exposure for a positive result.
Though there are benefits for early detection, which provides the opportunity for earlier health care, HIV RNA tests carry a higher risk for false positive results, because the presence of other viruses may also be detected in the patient’s blood. Our testing is also monitored by Physicians so in the event that a test result is deemed a false positive (on the laboratory side) it is reviewed by Physicians and a recommendation will be made for additional testing to be done for the most accurate result. That may or may not include a Viral Load test or a Antibody test. Each situation will be handled individually and discretely.
Knowing your status is the most important goal to learn methods to decrease the spread of the infection and also begin therapy to improve your long-term quality of life.
How HIV RNA Early Detection Tests Work
In order to identify infection, RNA (genetic material of HIV virus) levels are measured in the bloodstream. In the case of an infected patient, RNA levels get pretty high during the primary (acute) infection stage, often above 100,000 copies per ml.
There is no need to overly worry about False Positives or False Negatives, because the actual viral load count will be compared to the minimum count required to have a positive result. Like with any clinical test we provide, your results will be reviewed by an actual Physician, and the best recommendations will be given to you.
HIV RNA testing, is becoming the primary test for early detection of the HIV in persons who believe they have been exposed to it.
When Can the HIV RNA Test be Used?
Anyone who thinks they may have been exposed to the HIV virus through unprotected sexual activity, contact with blood that is infected, an infected mother who is pregnant/breastfeeding/ caring for her newborn, or someone who has shared dirty/non-sterile needles are some who can/would enjoy the benefits of early HIV detection.
- Possible HIV exposure within past two weeks
- Children born to mothers who are HIV positive
Questions & Answers
Why should you choose the HIV RNA test instead of others?.
The HIV RNA testing process is the earliest method of detection available on the market today, offering the earliest possible access to medical care and antiretroviral therapy if needed.
Is less than 100% accuracy of a test important?
Nothing in science is 100% absolute. That is why there are multiple testing methods and confirmatory tests available. However, the most important part of tests are the interpretation of the results by trained Physicians. Our laboratory results are reviewed by Physicians for clinical relevancy. If a test needs to be repeated or re-tested by a different modality, it will by suggested by our Physicians to ensure you get correct result for your peace of mind.