10-Days HIV Test
This is an RNA PCR test that looks for the HIV-1 virus itself from 10 days after exposure.
This is useful for the early detection and intervention of HIV.
In addition to this, we recommend a follow up test at 45/90 days after exposure in line with national testing guidelines.
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FAQs – 10-Days HIV Test
What is the 10-Day HIV test?
The HIV-1 RNA PCR test looks for the RNA and proviral DNA of the HIV virus i.e. the virus itself instead of the antibodies or antigens. The HIV virus can begin to appear from 7 days onwards and becomes consistently detectable from 10 days onwards. It, therefore, reduces the window period for testing of HIV (as compared to traditional tests).
The sophisticated nature of this test allows for early detection and intervention of HIV.
How does the test work?
The 10-Day HIV Test employs RT-PCR technology (Reverse Transcriptase-Polymerase Chain Reaction). PCR allows even the smallest number of genetic material of the virus to be multiplied and amplified into a large number of copies making the detection of the virus extremely accurate.
We use a technology called GeneXpert® by Cepheid – a leading molecular diagnostic company delivering tests globally for HIV, for other infectious diseases and oncology.
How is it different from the Instant HIV test?
The Instant HIV test (4th Generation) looks for the HIV antibodies as well as the p24 antigen – this is accurate from 45 days post-exposure.
The HIV-1 Qual (post-10-day detection) tests for the HIV virus itself – it is accurate from 10 days post-exposure. This test also does not produce any false-positive test results. And is more suited for those who want the most accurate HIV test result.
How is it different from the HIV-1 Viral Load test?
HIV-1 Qualitative test IS NOT the HIV-1 Viral Load test. The HIV-1 Qualitative test is a qualitative test and only identifies whether someone is HIV positive or negative.
The HIV-1 Viral Load test is a quantitative test that tells us the amount of HIV virus in the blood sample. This test is done in those who are known to be HIV positive and is a way of monitoring their infectiousness and response to HIV treatment.
Why does the test not look for HIV 2?
This test is designed to detect HIV-1 (not HIV-2) virus types which accounts for almost all cases of HIV in the UK (99.98%).
What are the key benefits of the 10-Day HIV test?
Our routine HIV test is a 4th Generation antigen & antibody test, done 45 days after exposure. However, there are certain situations where the 10-Day HIV Test can be considered:
Reducing onward HIV transmission:
The amount of virus in the blood is at its peak soon after getting HIV, and this makes the person most infectious to their partners soon after getting the infection. Having a negative test allows the patient to resume a relationship in the know that the risk to their partner is at a minimum. Similarly, if someone tests HIV positive, they can receive effective medications to control the virus and become non-infectious to their partner.
Prevention of complications:
An early diagnosis ensures that complications are prevented by starting anti-HIV drugs as soon as possible after getting the infection (read more about HIV treatment).
In new-born babies:
This test is also of immense value in confirming the HIV status of a baby borne of an HIV positive mother. This is a great advance over traditional HIV blood tests for the baby where maternal HIV antibodies can linger in the baby’s blood for up to 18 months and produce a false-positive HIV result.
We are all different in how we cope with the uncertainty after a potential exposure to HIV infection and get worried about the risk. We know there are people whose life comes to a standstill after potential HIV exposure, unable to focus on work or studies, and in some cases feel pushed to the brink of a mental breakdown. Having a test that excludes the HIV infection early can offer real peace of mind and restore normalcy in their life.
We understand how important this result is for many people. If you come at 6:00 pm, we will share your results by 9:00 pm on the same day.
How accurate is the HIV 10 Day test?
This test has a positive predictive value of 98.2% from a whole blood sample (i.e. blood from your arm). And 95.2% from a dried blood sample.
Furthermore, this test:
- has in-built control mechanisms to check that the sample amount is correct and sample preparation meets the essential standards
- is widely used in field and laboratory conditions
- Is WHO & FDA approval for the diagnosis of HIV-1 in newborn children.
Do I need to get retested at 45 days after possible exposure?
Whilst a negative or positive result from this test is highly accurate, there are reasons why we recommend a follow-up test after 45 days of exposure:
- This advice is in accordance with BASHH guidelines to have an HIV 4th generation test 45 days after exposure and to repeat at 3 months for those at high risk.
- HIV-2 is very rare in the UK and is not tested for by this test.
- 0.2% of HIV patients are elite controllers. They may have a very low level of virus in the blood but have a very good antibody response.
- Use of PrEP and PEP is commonplace these days, and may potentially affect the window period.
What if my test is positive?
In the event that your 10-Day HIV Test is positive, we will send a sample to the lab for further confirmation (at our own cost). This is in line with standard practice.
Our consultants are specialists in HIV Medicine and have decades of experience in treating patients with HIV in all its stages. Therefore, in the event your test result is positive, you are in the best hands to be looked after.
Do I have to tell my partner if I test positive?
Yes. We will give you all the necessary support in conveying your diagnosis to your partner and get them tested. Many people who test positive think that their partner will also test positive for HIV which is not always true.
Can I get this test in the NHS?
This test is mostly available in larger laboratories (including the NHS flagship sexual health clinic 56 Dean Street due to the cost of the technology). We are the first and only private clinic in the UK to have invested in our own GeneXpert machine for better patient care.
A test for both HIV 1/2 antibody and HIV-1 p24 antigen, from 45 days after possible exposure.
The HIV-1 Viral Load measures the amount of the HIV virus in your blood – only for HIV positive patients.
Page reviewed by Dr. Manoj Malu (Clinical Director)
Last reviewed date: 21 April 2020
Next review due: 21 April 2023
Whilst this content is written and reviewed by sexual health specialists, it is for general guidance only. It is not intended to replace the advice of your clinician.
Reference & Further Reading
- Journal of Clinical Virology: (PDF) Evaluation of Xpert HIV-1 Qual assay for resolution of HIV-1 infection in samples with negative or indeterminate Geenius HIV-1/2 results
- BHIVA:British HIV Association guidelines for antiretroviral treatment of HIV-2-positive individuals 2010
- Cepheid: EVALUATION OF THE CEPHEID HIV-1 QUAL POINT-OF-CARE TEST FOR HIV DIAGNOSIS AT BIRTH
- Aidsmap: How a London clinic reduced new HIV infections by 90% and why more European cities can do the same
- BASHH: BASHH/EAGA statement on HIV window period