If untreated, affects the immune system with the development of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The HIV virus is transmitted sexually, can be passed from mother to baby, and by intravenous drug use. Once an individual becomes infected with HIV, the virus remains in the body. A person who has HIV does not necessarily have AIDS. We perform two tests for the virus; one is a combination test that looks for both a protein in the virus coat and antibody to the virus; and a second that looks for the virus itself, targeting the virus nucleic acid. If either or both of the tests are reactive, further tests are done to confirm the result. Unlike many other infections the antibodies produced do not protect against the virus.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)
Posted in Blood Safety, Testing.