The Timeframe for Accurate HIV Test Results

The timeframe for accurate HIV test results vary, depending on the test that is administered. With most tests, it would take a number of hours for a lab to perform the tests, in addition to the amount of time it would take for this information to be returned to the doctor. However, some tests will only take a few minutes to perform and the doctor or medical professional can then read the results and relate those results back to the patient. In some instances, it may be necessary to do multiple tests, which will increase the timeframe for accurate HIV test results. Despite this, most individuals are willing to trade the time to be sure whether or not they have the virus.

The Pre-Testing Wait Period

However, there is another fact that needs to be taken into consideration before administering any tests. This factor concerns how it will take a virus a significant amount of presence in order to be tested. In most instances, this can take three months, or up to six or nine months. However, during this time, the individual will be forced to wait to take any test in order to allow the virus to manifest enough to be seen in test results. This timeframe can be an excruciating experience for some individuals and their families, particularly if there is the possibility that more than one individual may be infected with the virus.

The ELISA Test

The ELISA is one of the first choices made by doctors in testing for the possibility an individual may be infected with HIV. The ELISA tests the immune system to determine if it has been damaged to give a possible indication over the presence of a virus. When a virus has infected the body, unless the immune system has already been damaged, it takes time for a virus to affect a human body’s immune system enough for it to be seen on any test that is performed. Unfortunately, this also means that by the time the virus has been noticed, damage has occurred throughout the body, which signals that the body is in trouble.

The Western Blot Test

The ELISA test is confirmed with the Western Blot test. The sole existence of the Western Blot test is to determine the validity of the results the ELISA gave. In most instances, the Western Blot will disapprove what the ELISA is stating. This is not because the ELISA is inaccurate, but because it can only confirm the existence of damage to the immune system, which suggests a viral infection. However, it does not test for the presence of HIV directly but only the state/level of the immune system.

Less Modern Testing

Other tests that investigate the presence of a viral outbreak can be conducted more quickly. In some instances, these tests only take about twenty minutes. If a doctor has a lab right there on the location, a patient can wait until the doctor has the results in his or her hands. Although this option is more expensive, for some individuals they weigh the cost against knowing right away and they believe that knowing right away is better.

There are a number of viral sequences that are tested in order to determine:

  • If a virus is present in the body
  • What kind of virus it is
  • Whether or not there a known virus to compare it to

Due to having to wait to be able to take the HIV test results, this can mean an individual who believes he or she is may be infected may have to wait months to find out for sure. However, while in some rare instances a doctor might recommend a wait of up to nine months, in most instances, an individual will only have to wait four weeks to three months. A doctor will usually recommend you also check a second or third time around month six, in order to be safe.

Testing Timeframe

The timeframe for accurate HIV test results should be carefully weighed in order for a doctor to be able to perform the tests that he or she needs. Individuals may have to wait some time to have their tests performed, but in most instances, there is no reason to be concerned. However, during the waiting timeframe, it is best for the individual who is having the test to consider counseling to learn about HIV and what he or she should do if it turns out the test is positive. This can help him or her during the waiting period in coping with the anxiety and the result.

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