FDA just (August 9th) approved the first rapid finger stick Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) test that not only reveals if you have antibodies to HIV -1 or 2 but if you only have the virus (i.e. you have the antigen p-24)! In this 20 minute test the presence of the virus can be found 12-26 days after exposure. Prior to this 4th generation test one would have to wait till your body made antibodies – anywhere from 20-45 days after exposure. Note: this test however does not distinguish between antibodies to HIV-1 vs. HIV-2.
Now health care professionals have a quick tool that can independently distinguishes in a single test HIV antigen from HIV antibodies. Early infections yield antigen positive while only when the body starts fighting do HIV antibody develop.
Why this is a ‘big deal’ is you could be walking around undiagnosed spreading HIV infection because your body has not made antibodies. NOW infection can be recognized, treatment, and prevent spreading HIV infeon. At this writing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that in US each year approximately 50,000 people are infected with HIV. Of the more than 1 million people living with HIV, approximately 20% have not been diagnosed.
BACKGROUND: Being injected with the HIV virus can lead to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, or AIDS. This virus damages your body’s immune (defense) system – by destroying CD4+ T blood cells which are key to fighting diseases. At present there are two types of the virus- HIV-1 and HIV-2. HIV-1 is worldwide while to date HIV-2 is mostly in West Africa, although increasingly HIV-2 is being reported cases in Europe and North America.