Blog Banner

Community Health: Education, Prevention and Inspiration

Empowering people to make healthy, respectful and responsible choices.

New HIV Rapid Test

Posted by Tammi A. Tannura -

Today's rapid HIV tests only look for the body's immune system response (HIV antibodies) to having HIV. If a person's immune system is producing HIV antibodies, then that person is HIV positive (they have HIV), otherwise their body wouldn't be producing antibodies to fight HIV in the first place.

Now, a new rapid test is able to detect both HIV-1&2 antibodies as well as a particle of the virus itself called HIV-1 p24 antigen. A sample of blood, plasma or human serum is required for the test. Most cases of HIV infection in the United States result from infection by HIV-1. HIV-2 infections are prevalent in West Africa.

Why is this important?

The detection of HIV-1 p24antigen and absence of HIV antibodies indicates a more recently acquired HIV infection, whereas the absence of HIV-1 p24 antigen and the detection of HIV antibodies signals that HIV has been present for a longer period of time. HIV antibody tests currently only tell patients if they were infected 3-6 months ago and prior.

What's the public benefit?

Diagnosing HIV infection earlier can help to reduce HIV transmission to sexual and needle-sharing partners, as well as preserve the HIV infected patient's health therefore prolonging the progression to AIDS.

It is estimated that more than a million people are living with HIV infection in the United States, of whom 1 in 5 (20%) are not aware of their infection.

Source: Valentine, N. (2013, August 12). "Rapid HIV test approved by FDA." Medical News Today. Retrieved on August 20, 2013 from

Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter


Email will not display publicly, it is used only for validating comment