HIV testing shows whether a person has HIV. HIV testing detect HIV infection, but it can’t tell how long a person has had HIV or if the person has AIDS. There are three types of tests used to diagnose HIV infection: antibody tests, antigen/antibody tests, and nucleic acid tests (NATs).
• Antibody tests check for HIV antibodies in blood. HIV antibodies are disease-fighting proteins that the body produces in response to HIV infection. Common rapid tests and home use tests are antibody tests.
• Antigen/antibody tests can detect HIV antibodies and HIV antigens in blood.
• NATs look for HIV in the blood.