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AIDS and HIV Infection Being tested

What the HIV antibody test can tell you

The standard tests to determine whether you are infected with HIV are based on detection of antibodies to HIV in the blood, not of the virus itself.

Different types of antibody tests exist such as the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and simple rapid (S/R) tests. In recent years, tests have been developed that detect HIV antibodies in saliva and urine.

The first antibody test a person gets is called a screening test.

HIV screening tests can sometimes give false-positive readings, especially in populations where HIV is not present in high numbers, which is why confirmatory testing is always done on positive screening test results. This confirmation is needed to rule out false-positive screening results.

In regard to the accuracy of the antibody tests:

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