Thursday, June 28, 2012
D.C. hopes to test 35,000 employees for HIV over 3 months
HIV is usually diagnosed by testing your blood or a sample of cells taken with a cotton swab from inside your cheek for the presence of antibodies to the virus. Urine samples can also be tested for HIV antibodies, but the results are slightly less accurate.
Unfortunately, these HIV tests aren't accurate immediately after infection because it takes time for your body to produce antibodies to the virus. Most people develop antibodies to the HIV virus within three to six months of infection.
If this test is positive — meaning you have antibodies to HIV — lab technicians run the same test again on the sample you provided. If the repeat test is also positive for HIV antibodies, you need a confirming blood test called the Western blot test, which checks for the presence of HIV proteins.