Let us look at what is available in the market place for HIV test kits.
Diagnosis of HIV infection generally focuses on detecting the antibody to HIV. These are the test kits offered in Australia by online suppliers such as Head Start Testing and in the UK by Freedom Testing. These test kits are extremely accurate and can be used without medical supervision but they require that the individual has produced HIV antibodies in reaction to being infected with the HIV virus. With an antibody test the window period is expected to be between 4 and 12 weeks although the majority of individuals develop antibodies around 4 weeks.
However, a new generation test is emerging that incorporates HIV antigen testing which can be detected before the individual has developed antibodies to the HIV virus. These tests will be helpful in that they close the window period (time between infection and antibodies to HIV).With a P4 test the window period is expected to be between 11 days and 1 month. The antigen on the HIV virus will trigger an excessive production of the P24 protein in the blood which can be detected. However Avert advises
“P24 antigen tests are not usually used for general HIV diagnostic purposes, as they have a very low sensitivity and they only work before antibodies are produced in the period immediately after HIV infection.
This can make them a more difficult and there for else reliable testing method.
Generally forself-testing an antibody HIV test kit is recommended
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