How to find us
The Scan Clinic London East,
635A Cranbrook Road,
Gants Hill IG2 6SX
Call us on:
0203 904 7706
Monday – Saturday 9am – 5pm
Biomarkers Included with the HIV Blood Test London blood test
Scroll down for more information about each biomarker
HIV 1 & 2 Antigen – HIV Ag
About the HIV Blood Test London blood test
Tests: HIV 1 & 2 / p24Ag
HIV Blood Test
The first case of HIV in the UK was reported in the early 1980s. Initially, most people diagnosed with HIV would eventually be diagnosed with AIDS. But with more information about HIV now, HIV patients can live their lives normally with the help of antiretroviral therapy.
While ARVs have been a turning point for HIV patients, they are only effective when the diagnosis is made on time. While the rate of new infections has been decreasing, there’s a concern about an increasing number of late diagnoses, with older people more likely to be diagnosed late. Prompt HIV testing in London is vital in the treatment process. The sooner the virus is detected, the earlier it can be arrested and prevented from causing further damage to your immune system.
What is HIV?
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) is a virus that attacks immune cells that help the body fight off infection. The virus makes a person more vulnerable to other infections and diseases. The virus is spread by contact with certain bodily fluids of an infected person, usually during unprotected sex or through sharing injection drug equipment.
HIV affects and kills CD4 cells, which are a type of immune cell called T-cells. Over time, as HIV kills more CD4 cells, the body is exposed to various types of conditions and cancers. If left untreated, HIV evolves into AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). Once infected, the virus inserts itself into the DNA of cells, and the body can’t get rid of the virus, and no effective cure exists. However, there are effective treatments called Antiretroviral Therapy (ART) that help control the virus’s spread.
How Do You Become Infected with HIV?
You can only get infected with HIV by coming into direct contact with certain body fluids from a person with HIV who has a detectable viral load. Some of the bodily fluids that can spread HIV include;
- Pre-seminal fluid
- Vaginal fluids
- Breast milk
The HIV in these fluids must get into the bloodstream of an HIV-negative person through the mucous membrane in the rectum, vagina, mouth or tip of the penis or through open cuts or sores or direct injection for the transmission to occur.
People infected with HIV who take ART medication as prescribed and keep an undetectable viral load can live long and healthy lives. They also will not transmit HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.
The most common ways for spreading HIV are having vaginal or anal sex with some who have HIV without using protection or taking medication to prevent or treat HIV and sharing injection drug equipment like needles or syringes and other injection equipment.
In rare cases, you can also be infected with HIV through having oral sex. This method carries little to no risk of transmitting HIV, but it is possible if ejaculation happens in the mouth. It’s also possible to get infected by receiving blood transfusions or organ and tissue transplants with HIV. Again, this is extremely rare because of the extensive medical testing that happens prior to the procedures.
A bite from a person with HIV can also cause an infection. A rare infection can happen through contact between broken skin, wounds or mucous membranes. Deep, open-mouth kissing if both partners have sores or bleeding gums and blood from HIV partners gets into the bloodstream of the HIV-negative partner.
What are the Symptoms of HIV?
The symptoms of HIV vary depending on the stage of infection. The acute infection stage is the first few weeks after someone contracts HIV.
During this time, the virus reproduces rapidly. In response, the body’s immune system responds by producing HIV antibodies. These are proteins that respond against infection.
Most people don’t have any symptoms at first. However, some will experience symptoms in the first month after contracting the virus but are unaware that HIV causes these symptoms.
The symptoms in the acute stage can be very similar to those of the flu and other seasonal viruses like;
- Skin rash
- Sore throat
- Swollen lymph nodes
- General aches and pains
- Upset stomach
The symptoms might vary from mild to severe, might come and go and may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks.
Because the symptoms are common to illnesses like the flu, the person never sees the need to see a healthcare provider. Even if they do, the healthcare provider often suspects the flu and might not consider HIV.
Whether the person has symptoms or not, the viral load is very high during the acute infection stage. The viral load refers to the amount of HIV found in the bloodstream. A high viral load means that HIV can be easily transmitted to someone else during this time.
These first symptoms usually resolve within a few months as the infection moves to the next stage, called the chronic or clinical latency stage. This last stage can last many years or even decades with treatments. Some people don’t have any symptoms during this time. While others may have minimal or non-specific symptoms. These symptoms may include;
- Headaches or other body aches and pains
- Recurrent fevers
- Weight loss
- Night sweats
- Swollen lymph glands
- Recurrent oral or vaginal yeast infections
At this stage, HIV is still transferable even without the symptoms and can be transmitted to another person. However, a person won’t know they have HIV until they get tested.
Should I Get an HIV Blood Test?
Getting an HIV blood test is highly recommended. You should get tested at least once a year for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Because of the infection’s lack of symptoms, getting tested regularly is a good sexual health practice if you’re sexually active, even if you haven’t put yourself at risk of infection.
Benefits of Getting a Private HIV Blood Test
Almost every healthcare facility offers HIV blood tests. However, there are benefits to getting your HIV blood test through our private clinics and labs. These offer additional benefits if you value privacy and confidentiality. These benefits include;
- 100% confidentiality
- Rapid test results
- Modern and advanced equipment that meets the highest international standards
The Scan Clinic is a leading medical testing facility known as a leading allergy clinic in London and also offers food allergy testing in London. We also offer private HIV testing in London with unrivalled confidentiality and privacy with instant results.
HIV Test FAQs
How do I get an HIV test in London?
You can book an HIV test with the Scan Clinic for private HIV testing.
Is HIV detected in blood tests?
Yes, HIV is detected in an HIV blood test. The antigen/antibody test is performed on blood from a vein or a finger stick. HIV can be detected in blood 18-45 days after exposure, while the finger stick test can detect the virus in the blood for 18 to 90 days.
What should I do if I’m recently exposed to HIV?
If you have been immediately exposed to HIV, you must take Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) within 2 hours and not later than 72 hours after exposure. The sooner you take the PEPs, the more likely it is to stop an HIV infection.
You will need to see a doctor during the four weeks of PEP and again at the end of the four weeks when you’re done with PEP. You will be an HIV blood test again after four weeks. If the exposure was a result of unprotected sex, women can take additional precautions like pregnancy prevention medication.
Is there a cure for HIV?
There is no cure for HIV. However, there is an effective treatment that reduces the amount of HIV in your body and helps you remain healthy. Through the treatment, most people can get the virus under control within six months. However, the treatment doesn’t prevent transmission of other sexually transmitted diseases.
How can I prevent getting HIV?
HIV is most commonly transmitted through unprotected sex. One of the ways to prevent HIV is choosing less risky sexual behaviours, like using condoms every time you have sex and limiting your number of sexual partners. Abstinence is another effective strategy for preventing HIV. Avoid injecting drugs, and if you suspect you’ve been exposed to HIV, you should talk to your healthcare provider about PEPs and how to take them effectively.
Can I get an HIV test if I’m pregnant?
Yes, you can get an HIV blood test if you’re pregnant. It is recommended to get the test so you can take steps to stay healthy and protect the baby if you’re HIV positive.
What happens if HIV is left untreated?
When left untreated, HIV can destroy the body’s immune system over time. When the damage is severe, the patient suffers other life-threatening illnesses. At this point, the infection has advanced and is now said to have AIDS.
Why choose us?
We pride ourselves on providing the best quality service we can which is why we are trusted by GP's, doctors, physiotherapists, midwives and many other healthcare professionals.
Our mission of better quality healthcare for everyone is at the heart of everything we do and drives us to do the best we can for each and every patient that we see. Our team of experts have years of experience and are fully registered and regulated meaning you are in safe hands with us.
Biomarker information for HIV Blood Test London blood test
This test looks for the presence of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 1 and 2 antibodies. This virus protein is detectable in the blood before antibodies are made to the HIV particle, meaning it allows for earlier detection of HIV if present.
What does the HIV Blood Test London blood test involve?
This blood test is just like a standard blood test.
You will be asked to uncover you left or right arm and suitable vein is found. A tourniquet will be placed and tightened around your upper arm allowing the veins to swell and a needle will be placed into your vein. A small quantity of blood is then drawn into tubes. Once the procedure is complete a small plaster will be placed onto the site which can be removed after a few hours.
How do I prepare
- The blood test requires access to the area of interest, therefore, it is recommended to wear loose clothing to facilitate this process.
- No specific preparation is required for this scan.
- We will require details of your GP / Health Care Professional, which may be requested before or at the time of the scan.
- Blood results require interpretation. All results should be interpreted by your regular health care professional / GP.