HIV stands For Human Immunodeficiency Virus.
The presence of the HIV in your blood can be identified through HIV test.
Today, there are three major types of HIV test: antibody test, antigen test, and DNA test.
Each test can determine a specific substance that is present in the blood of an infected person.
The Antibody Test
It is also known as ELISA – Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay test. It is the first HIV test to determine the antibodies in the blood of an infected person.
When HIV virus enters your body, it generates some proteins called antibodies and releases into the blood to fight against the foreign organisms such as virus.
Remember that the HIV antibodies will not be produced immediately when you get infected. It usually takes 1-2 months to appear in your blood.
The period of time between an exposure of an infection and development of antibodies is known as window period. So, ELISA test is ineffective during window period.
For this test, a sample of your blood will be taken to identify the presence of antibodies to HIV virus. If the results are positive, then it confirms that you are infected with HIV virus. If the test results are negative, it indicates that there are no antibodies against HIV in your blood.
Although the ELISA test is easy, cheap, and very effective, it can produce false HIV positive results. So, a second antibody test known as a Western Blot will be performed with the same sample for more accurate results.
When your Western Blot results positive then it confirms the presence of HIV virus in your body.
The Antigen Test
It is a second HIV test to determine the antigens in your blood. Antigens are the foreign substances (called the P24 protein) on the HIV virus that motivate your immune system in the production of antibodies. These in turn destroy the antigen.
For this HIV test, a sample of your blood will be collected to determine the P24 protein in your blood. If the test results are positive, it confirms that you are with HIV infection. This test can determine the HIV infection very soon when compared to the HIV antibody test.
The DNA test:
It is a third HIV test to detect the genetic material and the HIV virus in the blood. DNA is the complex protein consists of all the genetic information of human being.
The positive result of this test confirms that you are with HIV infection. It can detect the HIV virus very soon when compared to other two HIV tests.
The HIV DNA test can detect the infection as soon as within one week after you get infected with HIV virus.
It is a rarely used HIV test for detecting the HIV virus in your body because they are expensive and difficult to manage when compared to HIV antibody or P24 protein test.
The type of HIV DNA test used to the babies born to mothers with HIV virus is called a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test.
With above mentioned tests, the HIV virus can be determined.