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HIV RNA PCR Qualitative Test Results

HIV RNA PCR Qualitative Test Results

When should I get an HIV viral load test?

Diagnostic testing for HIV viral load may be used in patients with possible or known exposure to the virus who are suspected of having an acute HIV infection. An acute HIV infection describes the earliest stage of HIV infection when some people begin to develop signs and symptoms of this disease. Although up to 60% of people infected will not have symptoms during this period, when they do occur symptoms of an acute HIV infection may include:

  • Fever
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Sore throat
  • Rash
  • Muscle or joint pain
  • Diarrhoea
  • Headache

Can I take the test at home?

HIV viral load testing requires a blood sample drawn by a health professional and is not available as an at-home test.

At-home HIV testing is available to screen undiagnosed patients for HIV, with both rapid and self-collection kits available.

Are test results accurate?

HIV viral load testing is a vital tool for monitoring the state of a patient's HIV infection. To ensure accuracy in monitoring changes in a patient's viral load over time, patients may be encouraged to have the same type of test conducted each time and, preferably, at the same laboratory.

What the qualitative results mean

The qualitative results indicate that HIV is present in your blood. The test result will be either “detected” or “undetected.”

“Detected” means that you do have the virus in your blood. “Undetected” means that you don't have the virus in your blood, or you have a tiny amount that can't be detected by this test.

The qualitative test results may still be positive even if your viral load has decreased drastically due to treatment.

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