Despite the nationwide accessibility of HIV testing and treatment, it is estimated that 13,500 people in the UK remain unaware that they are HIV positive. Better2Know has several testing options for HIV, depending on both your personal preference and how long ago you may have been exposed to the infection. Please see below for a description of the different types of HIV test we offer.
PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) is a testing method that extracts and amplifies the genetic material of an organism. In short, it looks for the presence of the virus itself, thus reducing the length of the incubation period. This means that our RNA PCR test will detect the presence of HIV just 10 days after any potential exposure to the virus.
This test is only available as part of Better2Know’s Early Detection Screen, which also detects Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C infections. The results of your Early Detection Screen will be ready just three working days after the receipt of your sample at our CPA accredited laboratory. Despite this test’s sensitivity, for complete peace of mind it is advisable to obtain a follow up, HIV DUO test after at least one month.
The Better2Know HIV DUO test will detect the HIV virus from 28 days after infection. Its status as a DUO test is such because it combines an antibody test for both strains of HIV, with an antigen test for the p24 antigen. An antigen is a foreign substance that activates the body’s creation of antibodies. With HIV, the p24 protein is the antigen that most commonly triggers the body’s antibody response. During the first few weeks after someone becomes infected, the HIV virus quickly produces p24. This is detectable in a patient’s blood, meaning that p24 antigen is the first marker of the presence of HIV. Antibodies, meanwhile, represent the immune system’s response to disease.
Better2Know will collect your blood sample and send it to our central, fully certified laboratory for swift and efficient analysis. The results are usually available within one working day from receipt of the sample by the laboratory. The HIV DUO test is considered 99.8% accurate at 28 days. This accuracy increases to 99.9% at 90 days after any potential exposure.
Our HIV Instant test is appropriate just 26 days after an incident of concern and requires a single blood sample, usually taken from the fingertip. At your appointment, your sample will be collected by an experienced clinician, who will run the test while you wait in the clinic. This test is suitable for both men and women, and will detect both types of HIV (type I and type II) as well as the p24 antigen. A drop of blood from the sample is added to a test strip, followed by a drop of solution. This process takes less than half an hour, so you should receive your results before leaving the clinic.
Better2Know do not perform the 90-day Antibody Test any more, as it is no longer the premier test we can offer our patients; instead, we suggest the 28-day HIV DUO test. As well as detecting antibodies, the HIV DUO test looks for the p24 antigen. If you have been advised to retest three months after your initial result, that is the test most appropriate for you.
As well as this comprehensive range of HIV testing options, Better2Know also provide HIV certificates to those who require them for reasons such as travel or industry. To receive a certificate following your HIV test, simply notify our friendly Patient Services team upon booking your test or screen. There’s more information on HIV tests and certificates available on our website.
To arrange your appointment, call Better2Know today on the number above. Our welcoming staff will take your call and answer any questions you may have. You can also book your test online by selecting the Book Now button at the top of the page.
Lines are open 24/7. Click to call.