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Can a Regular Blood Test Detect HIV?

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A routine blood test is a complete blood count, or CBC, which counts red and white blood cells, hemoglobin, and other blood components. This test can detect anemia, infection, and potentially blood cancer.

Another typical blood test is the basic metabolic panel, which examines your blood glucose, calcium, and electrolyte levels to see how well your heart, kidneys, and liver are functioning. To determine your risk of developing heart disease, you may undergo a lipoprotein panel, which examines your blood fat, including good cholesterol (HDL), bad cholesterol (LDL), and triglycerides.

A thorough comprehension of your blood test results can assist you in making sound dietary and lifestyle choices.

What information does a blood test reveal?

Specific blood tests can assist your doctor in determining the function of various organs in your body. Organs such as your thyroid, liver, or kidneys are examples of organs whose abnormalities can be detected with a blood test.

Additionally, your doctor can utilize blood tests to look for indicators of disease and health issues such as:

  • diabetes
  • HIV
  • anemia
  • cancer
  • cardiovascular disease coronary artery

Even if someone does not have heart disease, a blood test can determine if they are at risk of acquiring it.

Other blood tests can determine if your drugs work correctly or how well your blood clots.

HIV is a lentivirus that causes HIV infection and, over time, an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) (AIDS). AIDS is a disease in humans in which the immune system gradually fails, allowing life-threatening infections and malignancies to proliferate. HIV-infected individuals typically live between 9 and 11 years, depending on the HIV subtype.

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According to the WHO, around 34–40 million individuals worldwide live with HIV (human immunodeficiency virus), and nearly 30% of people live with undiagnosed HIV and unintentionally propagate the infection. The only method to determine if you have HIV is to take a test. To be safe, everyone between 13 and 64 should have their HIV tested at least once as part of their usual healthcare.

HIV is transmitted mainly through many sexual partners, exchanging syringes and blood with HIV-positive individuals and vaginal and rectal fluids. It is not shared via direct touches, such as shaking hands, exchanging food or toilet seats, or similar activities.

HIV infection progresses via three stages.

  • Acute HIV infection is the initial stage of HIV infection that occurs within two to four weeks of infection.
  • The second stage of HIV infection is a chronic infection, during which the virus continues to grow in the body but at deficient levels.
  • Acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS) is the terminal stage of infection when the immune system is destroyed.

HIV infection progresses in phases and becomes more severe over time without treatment. It kills the immune system entirely and finally results in AIDS. As a result, it is critical to seek diagnosis during the infection’s early stages.

How is HIV testing performed?

HIV testing determines whether or not you are HIV-positive. It is critical to seek HIV testing since it protects you and others. It can detect HIV infection but does not specify how long a person has been infected.

Blood tests are the gold standard for HIV diagnosis. Antibodies are produced by the body in response to HIV infection and can be discovered via blood tests. However, these tests cannot identify HIV in blood immediately after infection since it takes time for your body to create these antibodies (usually 2 to 8 weeks, sometimes even six months).

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HIV Diagnosis

Blood tests are the most often used method of diagnosing HIV. These tests are used to detect antibodies to the virus that the body produces to combat it.

Individuals exposed to the virus should be tested quickly, as it can take between six weeks and a year for the body to build antibodies to the virus. Follow-up testing may be necessary depending on the duration of the initial exposure.

Testing at an early stage is critical. If you test positive for HIV, you and your doctor will discuss and design a treatment plan that will assist you in combating the infection and avoiding consequences. Additionally, early testing might alert you to prevent high-risk behavior that could spread the virus to others.

The majority of health care professionals offer HIV testing, frequently in conjunction with appropriate counseling. Additionally, anonymous and complimentary testing is provided. Your doctor will inquire about your symptoms, medical history, and risk factors and conduct a physical examination.

HIV and AIDS tests

The primary tests for HIV and AIDS are as follows:

  1. ELISA Assay The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, or ELISA, is used to identify HIV infection. When an ELISA test results in a positive result, a Western blot test is typically used to confirm the diagnosis. If an ELISA test results in a negative impact but you suspect HIV, you should be tested again in one to three months. Although the ELISA is extremely sensitive to chronic HIV infection, because antibodies are not formed immediately after infection, you may test negative for a few weeks to a few months. Even if your test result is negative within this window, you may have a high viral load and risk of infection transmission.
  2. Tests Performed at Home The only home test that has been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration is the Home Access Express Test, which is available at pharmacies.
  3. Saliva Examinations Saliva is extracted from the inside of your cheek using a cotton pad. The pad is placed in a vial and submitted for testing. A blood test should be performed to confirm positive results.
  4. Test for Viral Load This test determines the level of HIV infection in your blood. Generally, it is used to track the course of HIV treatment or to detect early HIV infection. Three technologies are used to determine the HIV viral load in the blood: reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), branched DNA (bDNA), and amplification based on nucleic acid sequences (NASBA). These tests are similar in their fundamental ideas. HIV is detected through DNA sequences that precisely bind to those found in the virus. It’s critical to keep in mind that findings may differ between exams.
  5. Blot Western This is a susceptible blood test used to confirm the outcome of an ELISA test.
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