Take HIV RNA Test for HIV Early Detection

hiv rna test

HIV RNA Test or RNA tests detect the HIV virus directly in your blood. It is also called HIV Early Detection test because it is mostly used to detect HIV infection at a very early stage. The HIV RNA Test detect the virus as soon as it appears in the bloodstream before antibodies develop.Usually, the virus started appearing in the bloodstream after 9-11 days of exposure.

HIV RNA Test is costlier compared to the antibody test but because HIV RNA can be detected sooner than antibodies, RNA tests are more common in the United States. Click here to know more about pricing & testing centers.

It takes your body up to 3 months to produce enough antibodies levels that can be detectable by an antibody test. On the other hand, HIV RNA can be detected after 9-11 days of exposure. The short window period is the major advantage of HIV RNA test over Antibody tests.

In short HIV RNA Test or HIV Early Detection test is the fastest way to be sure if you’ve been recently exposed to an HIV infection or not. Unlike standard HIV Tests that gives a positive result based on levels of the antibodies in your blood that fight HIV, an HIV RNA Test detects the virus itself in your blood and gives your accurate result at an early stage of infection.

You can take an HIV RNA Test after 9-11 days of exposure whereas a standard test takes up to 3 months to find antibody in your blood. RNA tests are fastest and most accurate compared to any other HIV test available in the market that detects Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection.

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Why should you go for HIV RNA Test right now?

Approximately 37 million people are living with HIV/AIDS across the globe and out of those approximately 1.2 million are in the U.S itself.

In 2013 alone approx. 50,000 people were diagnosed with HIV in the United States.

Research says that 1 out of 8 people suffering from HIV/AIDS don’t know they’re infected. Getting tested is the only way to know your status and HIV RNA Test is the only fastest way to be sure.

Just after 9-11 days of exposure, the virus can be detected in your blood using the HIV RNA test.

Some facts about HIV/AIDS

  • 52% people living in the United States with HIV/AIDS, are men who have sex with men (MSM)
  • 44% MSM who tested positive were not aware that they are infected.
  • One out of Five people living with HIV is unaware of their status.
  • Female are more susceptible to HIV/AIDS.
  • One in Four people living with HIV is a Women.
  • In 1981, the first HIV cases were reported.
  • RNA Test can be used to detect HIV early.
  • Over 4,90,000 African American are living with HIV.
  • New HIV diagnosis is highest among individual aged 25-34 years (31%) followed by individuals aged 13-24 years (26%).
  • A person infected with HIV spends average $19,912 on HIV treatment every year.
  • 7% of Trans Women tested positive for HIV.
  • Gay & bisexual men should get tested for HIV every 12 months.
  • Top 10 states with the highest rate of HIV are California, New York, Florida, Texas, Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Georgia.

See Pricing & Test Options Find a Test Center Near You

HIV RNA Testing Process

The HIV RNA (Ribonucleic Acid) Testing process is very simple and convenient. Below are the steps you’ve to follow to get tested.

  • Visit our STD Testing website to book the test. Click here to visit the website.
  • Choose a test package.
  • Find a test center near you by entering your zip code.
  • Enter your information & make a payment.
  • You’ll receive an email containing a “Lab Requisition Form” with a test code. The address of the test center you chose is also included in the email.
  • Take your Lab Requisition Form or your test code to the testing center.
  • Get tested in 5 minutes. A small blood sample will be required.
  • Your results will be delivered to you in 1-2 days
  • If your test comes out positive, get post doctor consultation over the phone.

hiv rna test process

Summary of HIV RNA Test

Test NameHIV RNA Test
Test Also Known AsHIV Early Detection Test

HIV nucleic acid testing (NAT)


Window Period9-11 Days
Sample TypeBlood
Testing ProcessTakes 5 Minutes
ResultsReady in 24-48 hours
Doctor ConsultationOver Phone if Results are Positive
Test Used ForTo Detect acute (new) HIV infection
Test Look ForGenetic material of HIV in Blood
Testing Locations4500+ centers across the United States
Health InsuranceNot Accepted
Payment OptionsCredit Cards, PayPal, Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash

Why you should get tested with us

There are many reasons you should choose us for HIV RNA test. Some reasons are

Only FDA Approved HIV RNA Test

We are the only testing service offering the FDA-approved HIV RNA Test for early detection of HIV. This is our biggest advantage over other HIV RNA Testing service providers.

CLIA-certified labs

All of our test centers are CLIA certified. They meet and exceed Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) standards. CLIA govern all clinical lab testing performed in the United States. This ensures you get accurate results.

100% Confidential

We do not share your test results with anyone except you. Confidentiality is our top priority. We are guided by HIPAA privacy laws, the federal mandates that protect your health information.

4000+ Test Centers

We’re one of the largest chains of private STD testing centers. Our test centers are located across the United States. You can find a test center near you by entering your zip code.

Fast Test Results

After you test with us, we deliver you the results in 1-2 days.

Free Post Test Consultation

If your test comes out positive, we offer free doctor consultation over a phone.

HIV Tests that Detect the Virus Directly

There are many HIV tests available that detect the virus itself in your blood. These tests can be taken after 7-14 days of exposure. The two most used HIV RNA tests are as follows


HIV NAAT Test is used to detect HIV RNA in your blood. It is a very sensitive test and can tell you your status after 7-14 days of exposure. Most STD clinics in the United States use this test to detect HIV virus at the early stage of exposure. This is a better than p24 test because it gives a positive result every time if someone is infected with HIV. A p24 test can detect the infection within 10-14 days and may give false-negative result after that period.

p24 Antigen Test

p24 Antigen test is widely used HIV test that detects the virus at an early stage of exposure. It detects the p24 protein associated with HIV. Research suggests that p24 Antigen test can detect the virus after 10 to 14 days of infection with HIV.

Someone should go for this test around three to four weeks after exposure to HIV because p24 protein peak at around that time. After five to six weeks p24 test may not detect the HIV.

A positive p24 antigen test mean, the person is infected. A negative test result means the following

  • the person is HIV-negative
  • the person is HIV-positive but he/she took this test after 5-6 weeks and the test couldn’t detect the p24 protein
  • the levels of p24 antigen are too low to be detectable with current technologies.

Nowadays, the advanced tests combine a p24 test with an antibody test. This test gives more accurate results.

Different Types of HIV Tests: Which one is for you?

There are many HIV Testing options available in the market. All of them are capable of detecting HIV infection but has a different Window Period.

Window Period is the time during which a test can not detect the HIV infection.

There are different Window Periods for different HIV tests thus picking the right test become very important. Choosing the test depends on upon when did you get infected. If you think, you have been recently getting infected with HIV, RNA tests are the only option, whereas for routine testing antibody tests are being used.

Here is more about the different HIV Tests and their window periods.

RNA Tests or Viral load (RNA PCR) Test

Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR Test) or viral load test directly look for HIV in blood. The HIV viral load is the number of copies of the HIV in your blood and other parts of your body. Because the test has shortest window period i.e 9-11 days, it is used to detect HIV infection at an early stage. This is the most popular HIV test in the United States for HIV early detection.

When someone get exposed to an HIV infection, the viral load is usually very high within the first 4 weeks. If someone shows HIV symptoms, this can be used to confirm a suspected early infection.

Antibody Tests

These are the most common HIV tests. The test looks for antibodies in the blood that our body generates to fight HIV infection.

These tests are usually in the lab or at a testing site as a rapid test. Blood or oral fluid (not saliva) is used to perform
this test.

If the test gives negative or non-reactive result, it means you’re not infected. If it gives a positive result that means
you’re likely infected with HIV. Although some people can have a false-positive result. It is highly recommended that you perform a follow-up test if you’ve diagnosed positive.

The test has a window period of 4-6 weeks. Taking this test before 4 weeks will not tell you much about your status. 6 weeks is the recommended window period for this test.

Combined Antibody/Antigen (Ag/Ab) Tests or 4th Generation Test

Combined Antibody/Antigen tests are more common nowadays. These are popularly known as 4th generation tests. In these test a major HIV protein is being tested i.e p24. The protein is usually produced by the body after 2-3 weeks of getting infected and before antibodies are produced. p24 levels are only detectable for the next 1–2 months.

4th generation tests can detect 95% of infections after 4 weeks of infection. The test has a window period of 4 weeks.

Image: Types of HIV tests and time when they can detect an HIV infection.

types of hiv tests

HIV RNA Test vs 4th Generation HIV Testing

There are two types of popular HIV testing options are available i.e HIV RNA test and HIV Antibody test (4th Generation HIV Testing).

The HIV RNA test (the early detection test) detects the RNA (HIV’s genetic material) directly into the blood. That means the test has the ability to detect the virus directly into the blood after 9-11 days of exposure.

On the other hand, the HIV antibody test measures the level of antibodies in the blood that fight off the virus. An increased level of antibodies is a clear indication that the virus has entered the body.

If an increased level of antibodies is found, a western blot test is performed to confirm the findings.

A 4th generation antibody test is recommended after 2-3 weeks of exposure.

The basic difference between an HIV RNA Test and 4th Generation test is the methodology the use and their window period.

An HIV RNA test has a shorter window period of 9-11 days, whereas the window period for an HIV antibody test is 2-3 weeks.

Why HIV Early Detection is Important?

Detecting HIV at an early stage is not only important for your health but also for your relationship, life, and future. As per CDC website, close to 1.2 million people in the United States are living with HIV and approximately 40,000 new infections occurs every year.

Out of 1.2 million infected people, approximately 20% of people don’t know they’re infected. Based on the previous data, these 20% of infected people are responsible for 25000 to 30000 new infections each year.

HIV is the infection that progresses to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) if not treated on time.

If you are a sexually active person, or you had an unprotected sex with someone who’s HIV status is unknown to you, it is advisable for you to get tested.

HIV early detection helps you get the treatment early, which prevents the progression of the infection into AIDS.

The most effective and popular HIV treatment is an antiretroviral therapy. If you start taking the antiretroviral therapy before you experience any symptoms, the chances are higher that your infection will never progress to AIDS, and you’ll be able to live a healthy life.

The early HIV detection and treatment also helps you to avoid pass your infection to anyone else. When you start taking the treatment at an early stage, your HIV viral loads decrease and the chances of passing your infection to someone else also reduces.

Who is at risk of HIV?

Anyone who is indulging in risky behaviour is at risk of acquiring an HIV infection. Risky behaviour include having sex with multiple partner, having sex with someone who’s status is unknown, sharing drug injection needles or equipment.

HIV can happen to anyone who practices risky behaviour. Getting tested is the only way to know your status.

Someone should take an HIV test even if he/she is not experiencing any symptoms.

When you should take an HIV test?

Getting tested is all depends upon your circumstances. If you’re a sexually active person, you should get tested frequently. CDC recommends at least once in a year. If you have never been tested for an HIV in your life, you should get tested at least once.

You should also get tested if you have practiced anyone these

  • Have had sex with multiple sex partners (Oral, Vaginal, Anal).
  • You’re a man who had sex with another man.
  • You have had sex with someone who is an HIV positive or who’s status is unknown to you.
  • You’re using illegal drugs or steroids
  • You’ve shared a syringe or needle
  • You have diagnosed with a sexually transmitted disease

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How Accurate is HIV RNA Test?

Answer: HIV RNA Test can provide you results just after 9-11 days of exposure with 90%-95% accuracy. Although some studies claim that it can provide results with 95%-99% accuracy.

Question: When Should You Go for an HIV RNA Test?

Answer: If you had an unprotected sex with your partner and you’ve noticed some changes in your health e.g rashes in your private part, flu-like symptoms or even cold or fever etc, you should immediately go for a Test. You can also go for an STD test if you’re sexually active or you had an unprotected sex with a new partner without a condom.

Question: Does HIV RNA Test use blood or urine?

Answer: HIV RNA test is a blood test. When you’ll visit our test center, our lab technician will draw a small blood sample. No urine is required for this test.

Question: How soon can I go for HIV early detection Test after unprotected sex?

Answer: You can go for an HIV early detection test after 9-11 days of having sex. HIV RNA test’s Window Period is the shortest among all the HIV Tests available in the market.

Question: How often should you get tested?

If you’re a sexually active person, it is advisable that you should get tested at least once a year. Also, If you recently had a sex with a person whose status is unknown to you, it is a good idea to get tested again.

Question: Do I need to be fasting before going for this test?

Answer: No, there is no fasting required for HIV RNA Test.

Question: Why HIV RNA Test is better than Standard HIV Test?

Answer: Unlike standard HIV test, HIV RNA test looks for the virus in patient’s blood. The standard test looks for antibodies in the blood. Also, the standard test takes up to 3 months before giving you the accurate results but with HIV early detection test you can be sure just after 9-11 days of unprotected sex with your partner.

Question: Can HIV be curable?

Answer: HIV is not curable that is why early detection of the disease is more important. HIV weaken your immune system and maintain a healthy lifestyle is the only way out. Detecting the disease early helps you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Question: Who are at most risks of getting an HIV?

Answer: Substance abusers, gays and bisexuals, people who live in disadvantaged neighborhoods, and young adults between the ages of 13-29 are at most risk of getting an HIV. Also, if you have a behavior of sharing needles or having unprotected sex, you should go for an HIV RNA Test.

Question: What are some common symptoms shown during potential primary HIV infection?

Answer: The following are the symptoms that most people with primary HIV infection shows

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Fever & Rash together
  • Sore throat
  • Oral ulcers
  • Muscle pain
  • Joint pain
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Weight loss

Question: How much does HIV RNA cost?

Answer: HIV RNA test Cost only $175. We also offer $10 discount for new customers. You can also go for our 10-panel test + HIV early detection test to be sure for other common STDs. The test combo will cost you $349.

Question: When a HIV RNA Test considered conclusive?

Answer: Any HIV test considered as conclusive only after retesting at or after 12 weeks although PCR test i.e RNA tests can give accurate results much early than other HIV tests.

Question: How long does it take to get results of an HIV test?

Answer: It takes only five minutes to get tested after you visit our HIV testing center. Although your test results are sent to your email in 1-2 business days.

Question: What are the chances that you get a false negative HIV RNA test result?

Answer: Although PCR Tests or RNA Tests can give up to 99% accurate results but sometimes you may get a false negative HIV RNA test result. This could happen when you get tested during the window period or you have been tested with a Pooled RNA NAAT test.

Question: Is HIV RNA Test accurate?

Answer: If you wish to know your HIV status at a very early stage of infection, HIV RNA Test is the only test available that can detect the virus directly into your bloodstream after 9-11 days of exposure. It can detect the virus with 99% accuracy.

Question: What does HIV RNA Mean?

Answer: HIV RNA is the genetic material of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The HIV RNA Test measures the viral load of HIV RNA in the blood. When the virus enters into the body, it targets the CD4 cells and uses them to replicate itself and spread throughout the body.

Question: How soon can HIV be detected by a blood test?

Answer: HIV early detection test, commonly known as HIV RNA Test is used to detect the HIV infection at an early stage. It can detect the virus directly into the blood after 9-11 days of exposure.

Question: What is the normal range of viral load?

Answer: If you do not have an HIV infection or you’re on an HIV treatment (ART), ideally your viral load should be undetectable. On the other hand, if you have got an HIV infection and you’re not on an HIV treatment, your viral load may vary from undetectable to several million.

Question: HIV RNA Test Locations in the United States?

Answer: We’ve over 4000 HIV RNA Test locations in the United States where you can personally visit and get tested in just 5 minutes. Our HIV RNA Test clinics are located in all states and major cities of US including Austin, NYC , Orlando, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, San Diego, Florida, Houston, Los Angeles, Indianapolis, New Jersey, San Jose, Las Vegas, Miami, New Orleans, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Portland, San Francisco, Seattle, San Antonio, St Louis, Tampa,Tulsa,Utah, Washington DC and many more.