For some people who have the risk of getting infected or knew someone who is at risk, they may know about different types of HIV test, result of rapid medical science progress and advancement. Each HIV test is differ in their detecting speed of the infection and its price. In this article, we will be talking about different types of HIV test, including its key features and differences. We hope it will be useful for anyone who is at risk, know someone who is at risk, or just eager to know.
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that will evolve, replicate itself and gradually attacks your immune system once it enters your body. In general cases, when our immune system detect any viral infection, it will produce immunity to protect against such infection. In that process, many cells are in use. One of the most important cells used in the process is a type of white blood cell called CD4 T lymphocyte (a.k.a. T-helper). Inauspiciously, in the case of HIV infection, the virus destroys CD4 T lymphocyte and make copies of itself inside them, weakening your immune system. HIV infection can be divided into three stages as follow:
- First stage is asymptomatic. It is at the early stage of infection, which will evolve to the second stage after 5 – 7 years, depends on each person.
- Second stage is symptomatic, where symptoms can include body rash, swollen glands, oral thrush, Herpes Simplex, etc. The infection will evolve to the third stage within 1 – 2 years, depends on each person.
- Third stage is an acute period, known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome – AIDS. It is a condition where progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic Infections; such as pneumonia, meningitis, and cancers, to thrive.
At present, HIV can be classified into two main types:
- HIV–1: the most common type found worldwide, and
- HIV–2: found mainly in Western Africa.
However, the symptoms and stages of evolvement of these two types are not much different. The best way to treat patients with HIV infection is to detect the infection as soon as possible, in order to provide treatments and prevent the HIV replication since the first stage. Nowadays, there many types of HIV test as follow:
- HIV antibody tests – is a standard test used in every laboratory, both public and private sectors. It will detect specific antibodies produced when you become infected with HIV. Nevertheless, such antibodies may be detected at least 1 month after the infection.
Nucleic Acid Amplification Tests (NAAT) – is a faster test, where it can detect HIV after 5 days of the infection. However, since the cost for this test is higher, it usually available only in certain hospitals and clinics – mostly in private sector.
Nevertheless, according to the WHO guidelines on HIV/AIDS, it is suggested to take the test again after three months because it is more accurate. You may also choose to take the test only once; three months after the incident where you may be infected, which is not too late yet, to avoid any redundant payment.
We hope that this article benefit you more or less and that it could help lessen your stress in getting the HIV tests. See you again next article