Over the years, studies have shown that one in every four Americans who have contracted HIV do not know that they are HIV positive. This means that they are doing their usual lifestyles without knowing that they are putting themselves and their sex partners at high risk of developing more complications and getting infected with HIV, respectively.

Undiagnosed HIV may progress to AIDS, so it is important that people get HIV tested in order to determine what kind of treatment they should undergo. There are numerous HIV tests available today, such as the ELISA test, which takes around a week or two before giving out the results. But there are also others that can produce results in less than an hour, and they are called rapid HIV tests.

Many people are not convinced about using rapid HIV tests to test for HIV. They think that their ability to produce results in a very short time means that they are not as accurate as the other HIV testing methods that need several days.

How is a rapid HIV test done?

Rapid HIV tests are done via two ways. One is by taking a sample from the mouth of the patient, and the other is by taking a blood sample. The first method is recommended for patients who are afraid of needles. Either way, these two rapid HIV test methods will be able to provide enough samples to be examined and tested.

How accurate are the results of HIV rapid tests?

People can get the results of an HIV rapid test after about half an hour. Because it is fairly quick, people wonder how accurate these results are. When doing rapid HIV tests, the laboratory person looks for antibodies present in the swab or blood sample of the patient. This procedure is also done when doing ELISA tests and other kinds of HIV tests.

Medical professionals say that the accuracy of HIV rapid tests is 99%. According to statistics, only 1-3 HIV rapid test results out of every 1,000 turn out to be false positives. HIV rapid tests’ accuracy is quite high so there is no reason to not trust it and use it for a convenient way of testing for HIV. If a patient has been tested positive for HIV using HIV rapid tests, they are then told to take the ELISA and Western Blot tests to get a second and third verification.

For more information about HIV, people are encouraged to visit their doctor or an STD clinic or hospital. HIV spreads fast so we must all be aware of how to prevent it and stop it from reaching more victims.