HIV is caused by a virus known as a retrovirus. The combination of medications used to treat HIV is known as antiretroviral therapy (ART).
INFORMATION ON DIFFERENT HIV TESTS IN SINGAPORE
These are some ways to get tested for HIV in Singapore should you suspect you are infected with HIV.
HIV antibody test in Singapore
This is a blood test routinely offered as a screening test for HIV testing. This involves ELISA laboratory technique where proteins or enzymes are being immobilized on a solid plate surface, allowing HIV antibodies, if present, to interact with the enzymes or proteins. This test is a reliable, repeatable way to detect the presence of certain HIV antibodies and thus HIV positive infection.
Positive HIV antibody ELISA test results (a HIV positive test) are usually seen within 3-6 weeks after exposure. The accuracy of ELISA HIV antibody tests is 90% at 1-month post-exposure and more than 99% at 3-months post-infection.
Western Blot for HIV, Singapore
If a person is found to have a positive HIV ELISA antibody test, further confirmatory tests will be offered to ascertain infection. This involves the Western Blotting laboratory assay technique to detect antibodies in the patient fluid that will react to different viral proteins in HIV.
A positive Western Blotting test is defined as the presence of antibodies to all the 3 main groups of the HIV protein. One can have indeterminate Western Bloting results. This can be due to the presence of other unrelated antibodies of the body that cross-react with HIV proteins, or it may simply mean the HIV immune response is still developing post-infection.
When a patient receives an indeterminate Western Blot result, the patient should repeat the HIV test at 1, 2 and 3 months post-exposure of the suspected infection. If the test result is positive, together with a positive HIV ELISA antibody test, the sensitivity and specificity of both exceed 99.9%. If the results are negative, testing should be repeated 3 months after exposure.
Anonymous Rapid HIV test in Singapore
Approved in 2007 by the Ministry of Health (MOH), anonymous rapid HIV testing can be used as screening tests with a quick result out within 20 minutes. A negative rapid HIV test results do not require confirmatory testing, but positive results require confirmation with both ELISA and Western Blot testing to ascertain if the patient is infected with HIV.
4th Generation HIV P24 Antigen and Antibody Test in Singapore
4th Generation HIV test screens for HIV antibodies and p24 antigen, which is the first virus antigen that appears in the body. This helps to reduce the window period of testing to 2-4 weeks.
HIV RNA/DNA PCR test in Singapore
HIV RNA/DNA PCR test screen for evidence of the HIV virus itself to suggest positive HIV infection. This can be used for testing early screen in people with high-risk to exposure or in cases where the Western Blot results are inconclusive.