Guest Post By DTAP Clinic
An HIV test for men is highly recommended for those who are sexually active, especially those with more than one sexual partner.
A variety of tests are available, including rapid finger-prick tests that will have results in 20 minutes, an oral swab test that will also produce results in 20 minutes and standard blood tests that go to a designated laboratory that may take up to a week for results.
It is highly recommended that the test is performed by our doctors in the clinic to ensure that there are no errors in performing and interpreting the tests.
Available HIV Tests:
|Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) Services
|When to Test
HIV PrEP (Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis)
Prevent or Reduce the risk of HIV BEFORE EXPOSURE to HIV.
Before exposure to
HIV PEP (Post-Exposure Prophylaxis)
Prevent or Reduce the risk of HIV infection AFTER EXPOSURE to HIV.
Less than 72 hours
HIV PRO VIRAL DNA TEST
HIV Pro-Viral DNA TestingRESULTS: Within 1 week
from 10 days
HIV PCR TEST
HIV RNA/DNA Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) TestRESULTS: Within 1 week
from 12 days
4th GENERATION HIV TEST
HIV Combination P24 Antigen/Antibody Test
(HIV Duo TestRESULTS: 20 mins
|from 28 days
3rd GENERATION HIV TEST
Rapid Finger prick Blood HIV-1/2 Antibody Test
RESULTS: 20 mins
|from 90 days
More details are given below. Various types of tests are available depending on the exposure period. Some of these tests include:
HIV RNA PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) Test
This is a blood test that is usually performed if exposure to HIV was 10 to 12 days ago. If an antibody test is done and the results are not yet conclusive. This is where an RNA PCR test comes in handy. The waiting period for the results can range from 1 to 2 weeks. but the results of this test are 100 per cent accurate if they are done 10 days after exposure to the virus. Since the PCR is very sensitive, there are more cases of false positives compared to false negatives. However, the results are always double-checked for accuracy purposes. This test can detect only HIV 1 and not HIV 2 which is far less common and considered less harmful.
Rapid Anonymous HIV Combo Test (4th generation)
This HIV test is conducted by pricking the finger and is recommended if the potential exposure to the virus was between 3 to 6 weeks ago. However, the test will be more reliable and considered conclusive if performed after 28 days from exposure. The test is very fast and the results can be obtained within 20 minutes.
Rapid Anonymous HIV Antibody Test (3rd generation)
The test is normally conducted when potential exposure to the virus is 3 months or more. Your blood or saliva can be used. The results can be obtained within 20 minutes.
Before an HIV test is conducted, the doctor will usually ask a few relevant questions. If the results come back negative and you are within the window period (3 months) you will be asked to come back for another test to ensure that your results are conclusive. It is important that you come back for the second test to rule out HIV infection. If results come back positive a further blood test will be sent to the laboratory for confirmatory Western Blot testing. The results will usually be out in 2 weeks.
Anonymous HIV testing
Anonymous HIV testing is available at Robertson Walk. Here the rapid tests are performed, the only difference is that no personal details are needed regardless of result.
What about my HIV Test accuracy?
HIV Test accuracy is essentially based on your exposure window period. The HIV Window Period has understandably caused a lot of confusion. – HIV symptoms
The HIV Window Period is the time from when a person is potentially infected with HIV to when our tests can tell us whether he or she is infected with HIV.
This means if a person who is infected does a test during this so-called window period, the test will tell us he is NOT infected (or negative) when in reality he is infected with HIV. This is called a false-negative test. – see HIV rash
What is HIV Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP)?
No conclusive testing is available before 10 days from exposure as the virus has not had enough time to develop within the body. However, within 3 days from a potential infection you may consider using the Post Exposure Prophylaxis (HIV PEP) which helps to reduce your risk of contracting HIV by as much as 95%. Bear in mind that after 3 days from infection this medication may no longer be useful.
PEP are medicines given to a person after a high risk HIV exposure to minimize the risk of him/her getting infected with HIV. Common high risk HIV exposure scenarios include having unprotected sex with a casual partner or sex worker, or condom breaks or slips.