Getting an HIV test is easy; understanding an HIV test is not so easy. There is more than one type of HIV test used to determine if a person has been infected with HIV. These tests detect different substances in the blood that are present when a person has been infected with HIV. One detects HIV proteins that circulate in the body after a person has been infected. Two others detect HIV antibodies that have been produced by the body after HIV infection has occurred. Let's look a little closer at the HIV test.
ElisaThis is the first step of an HIV test. This test detects the presence of HIV antibodies in the blood. If the test is negative then the person is determined not to be HIV infected and testing stops there. If the test is positive the second step of the test is run to confirm the positive results of the first step.
Western BlotThis test is used to confirm the positive Elisa test results. The Western Blot test detects specific protein bands that are present in an HIV infected individual. In combination with a positive Elisa, a positive Western Blot is 99.9 percent accurate in detecting that HIV infection has occurred.