There are different tests available to detect HIV, and all of them have a different window period. A window period is the time you have to wait before getting tested for HIV. In case of HIV RNA test, the window period is the shortest (i.e 9-11 days), that is why HIV RNA test is also known as HIV early detection test. The test is available at many STD Testing labs in the United States. To book a test or know about the testing process, click here to visit STDCheck.com.
Some Facts about Window Periods
- Markers of infection cannot be detected during window period that is why some needs to wait till the window period is over.
- The length of Window period varies between individuals. In some people HIV Virus or Antibodies may be detected earlier while in others it may take some more time.
- Different HIV tests have a different Window period.
- Someone can get false result if he/she gets tested during Window period.
Different HIV Tests and their Window Periods
Below we’ve mentioned different type of tests available to detect HIV and their window period
- RNA Test (Early Detection Test)
- Rapid Test
- Standard Test
RNA Test is helpful if you’ve exposed to a recent risk of HIV e.g anal sex with someone whose status is unknown or had a known exposure and want to be sure if you’ve got infected or not. RNA test has the shortest window period among all the tests available for detecting HIV. You can go for this test 10-12 days after infection.
A blood sample is required to get tested with RNA test. RNA test looks for actual HIV virus, not antibodies in your blood, that is why it is more reliable and gives up to 99% accurate results.
It is always advisable to go for an RNA test if you’ve recently had a sex with a new partner whose status is unknown.
Rapid test is used for routine testing. When someone got infected with HIV virus, our body started producing antibodies to fight those viruses. Within 3-4 weeks, our body developed enough antibodies to detect the infection. That is why Rapid test has a window period of 3-4 weeks.
Rapid test is called a Rapid test because it gives you result in just few minutes. Other antibody tests may take up to few weeks to give you the results. This helps eliminating the stress of waiting.
Like RNA Test, a blood specimen is required to get tested with Rapid test. Lab technician poke your figure with a lance and take your blood into a plastic tube for testing.
A rapid test may not find antibodies in your blood and may give false-negative result. Even if a rapid test gives you positive result, it is suggested to have a follow up test.
The test is mostly used for routine testing. It is also an antibody test that means it find antibodies in patients’ blood to find HIV virus. Someone can go for this test after 3-4 weeks of exposure.
The major difference between Standard HIV Test and Rapid Test is, The Standard HIV Test is required a blood sample from the vein instead of blood sample taken from poking figure with a lance.
Someone needs to wait for 1 week to get the results. If your test comes out negative, it is not required to go for another test but in case the test comes out positive a follow up test is required to confirm it.
Where to Get Tested?
If you live in United States, you can get tested with STD Check (A network of STD Testing clinics). They have over 4000 clinics across the nation and you can easily find a testing center near you.
Their HIV RNA Test is the only FDA approved HIV early detection test in the country.
To book a test and know more about pricing, you can simply visit their official website using the link mentioned above.