Human immunodeficiency virus affects the immune system of the body. When this virus damages the entire immune system then the condition is known as HIV. There are special tests which are necessary to confirm the HIV results. There are two kinds of HIV tests. Primary and confirmatory are the two broad categories of HIV tests. Both the ways are quite different from each other. One must undergo HIV test, even if there is a slight doubt about it. Once the results are positive in the primary tests, the confirmatory test is done to ensure the result. The two tests are done to confirm that if there is some other infection in the body, it gets diagnosed easily. (Also read: What is Genital Herpes: Symptoms, treatments and diagnosis)
Which tests required to diagnose HIV?
Types of primary HIV test:
Enzyme Immunoassay (EIA): This test is for antibody HIV. There are some limitations of this test. After 6-12 weeks of infection, some people start producing anti-HIV while some people take around 6 months to produce the same. This test is not used for new infections.
Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay: This test is just like EIA. A different technique and method are used to do this test. (Also read: What are the symptoms of sexually transmitted diseases)
Polymerase Chain Reaction: With this technology, the RNA or ribonucleic acid is increased in the blood. IT helps to easily test the RNI of the body. If someone has gotten infected recently then with the help of Polymerase Chain Reaction even the slightest of infection can be diagnosed. Though it is quite an expensive test, it is easily available.
Tests to confirm HIV results:
Western blot: This is done to confirm the results of the primary test. This is one antibody test. This is one of the most specific and detailed versions of HIV antibody EIA and ELISA. This test is quite expensive thus it is done to confirm the test results.
RIPA: This test is done when the level of the antibody is less. When the results of the western blot are not clear then this test is performed. This is also a costly test and is difficult to conduct it.
Immunofluorescence assay (IFA): This is also a kind of confirmatory test. This is done when the results of the western blot do not get confirmed. At times this test is performed in place of RIPA and ELISA.
DNI/RNI application: This test is like PCR. This is done when the western blot does not give confirmed results. This test is done to know the status of viral load in the blood. Viral load is the virus present in the blood. This is basically done to know how effective is your treatment going on. (Also read: What Are The Important Facts About Asymptomatic STD)