What is the HIV antigen test?
The Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV) antigen test detects for the presence of specific HIV proteins, called antigens, in a sample taken from your blood. This test can be performed after exposure to HIV.
What is HIV?
Human Immunodeficiency Viruses (HIV) is a virus that targets the immune system; making a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is when a set of symptoms or illnesses at the final stage of HIV infection occurs.
HIV is usually spread by contact with bodily fluids of a person who has HIV; this often occurs through unprotected intercourse. Other ways of contracting the virus can occur from the use of a contaminated needle or surgical instrument.
Why Should I Test?
People can live with HIV for years before showing any symptoms. By being tested, it can allow for early detection if you are infected. This would result in early treatment and care before the infection can cause irreversible damage to your body and health.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
STAGE 1: Acute Infection
Some people may experience flu- like symptoms. These include:
- Mouth ulcers
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Skin rashes
- Night sweats
- Muscle aches
- Sore throat
STAGE 2: Chronic Infection
The HIV virus continues to replicate but at low levels inside the body. Some people stay in this stage for several years without symptoms. Other may experience some symptoms such as:
- Weight loss
- High fever
Stage 3: AIDS
If HIV is left untreated it can eventually weaken the immune system. It becomes difficult for your body to defend itself from opportunistic infections ( Infections that occur more frequently and are more severe in people with weakened immune systems). Some of these infections include:
- Oral or vaginal candidiasis
- Bacterial Infection
AIDS is the late stage of HIV. Some symptoms of AIDS include:
- Rapid weight loss
- Recurring fever or profuse night sweats
- Extreme and unexplained tiredness
- Prolonged swelling of the lymph glands in the armpits, groin, or neck
- Diarrhoea that lasts for more than a week
- Sores of the mouth, anus, or genitals
- Red, brown, pink, or purplish blotches on or under the skin or inside the mouth, nose, or eyelids
- Neurologic disorders
What Does a Positive Result Means?
If your test is positive that would indicate that you may have some levels of the HIV’s genetic material in your blood. It is recommended either to repeat the test to be certain and/or to perform alternative test such as a PCR to be absolutely certain. We also recommend that you consult your doctor if you test positive.
What Does a Negative Result Means?
If your test is negative that would indicate that you have not detected any levels of the HIV’s genetic material in your blood.