An advanced 4th generation assay for improved detection of acute HIV during the critical “window period”.
The HIV DUO provides the combined detection of anti-HIV-1 (groups M and O) and anti-HIV-2 total immunoglobulins + HIV-1 p24 antigen. It is the highest p24 Ag sensitivity test currently available.
Many of the 35.3 million people infected with HIV worldwide are unaware of their condition, as symptoms may be absent or non-specific.
In addition, there is a period of 3-4 weeks between exposure and the appearance of the first anti-HIV serum antibodies.
This HIV test is called a “DUO” test because it combines an antibody test for the HIV 1 & 2 strains of the virus with an antigen test for the p24 antigen.
An antigen is a foreign substance that triggers the body’s creation of antibodies. With HIV, the p24 protein is the antigen that most commonly triggers an antibody response. During the first few weeks after someone becomes infected with HIV, p24 is produced rapidly and is detectable in the blood. Because the p24 test can detect HIV infection before the HIV antibody test can, it is used for diagnosing HIV early in the course of infection. Coupled with an antibody test, the HIV p24 antigen is very accurate in determining early on whether an individual has been infected with HIV. The HIV DUO test is extremely accurate at 28 days. Results are usually available the same day.
The HIV DUO test, including p24 antigen, is considered 99.8% accurate at 28 days, this accuracy increases to 99.9% at 90 days after potential contact.
After suspected exposure, when should you test for HIV and which test should be done?
At approx 2 weeks – HIV RNA, HIV DNA, p24 antigen (the p24 antigen becomes detectable at 14 days
after exposure – around 3 days after the HIV RNA –PCR test)
At approx 4 weeks –HIV DUO (antigen and antibody test)
After 6 weeks – Antibody ELISA tests or Rapid tests
This table is indicative only. It is recommended to consult a doctor before interpreting your test results.
The HIV ‘window period’
There’s a period of time after a person is infected during which they won’t test positive. This is called the “hiv window period.”
The window period can be from 9 days to 3-6 months, depending on the person’s body and on the HIV-test that’s used. During that time, you can test HIV negative even though you’re HIV infected. You can still catch HIV from someone who is in the window period. In fact, there is evidence that a person in the window period is more likely to pass the virus on.
If you think you have been exposed to HIV, call us to get a confidential HIV test.
If you test negative on an antibody test taken 3 months or longer after your last possible risk of possible exposure to HIV, you can feel safe in assuming that you do not have the virus. If for some reason you feel anxiety about relying on the 3-month result, you could opt to have another test taken again at 6 months.