How do I confirm the presence of the HIV infection?
Blood, serum or saliva is tested to check if there are HIV anti-bodies present.
What tests are done?
We have four ways of detecting HIV in blood, serum or saliva:
- Rapid HIV Antibody Tests (In the public sector two rapid tests from different manufacturers are used to confirm HIV)
- ELISA (Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay) has 100% sensitivity and 99.7% specificity. This mean that there are no false positives (sensitivity) and very rare false-positives occur (specificity) therefore a positive ELISA Screening is always followed up by a second confirmatory test.
- HIV Western Blot
- Qualitative PCR
What is a "Window Period"?
When your body has been infected with a disease it takes about 3 - 6 weeks for antibodies to develop against the infection. That means that during that first period after contracting the disease there are no tests available to say if you are positive or not. If you do a test and it is negative, it is not a guaranteed negative because of the window period.
Pre and Post Counselling
The purpose of counselling within the HIV Process is done to identify infected individuals, educate people about prevention and limit transmission of the virus.
HIV Counselling is compulsory. The test process must be explained in your home language before you are tested. Informed consent must be provided in writing.