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Human Immunodeficiency Virus Serology

Alias: HIV, HIV-1, HIV-2, p24

Discipline: Virology

Test information: This 4th generation assay provides simultaneous qualitative detection of HIV p24 antigen and antibodies to Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) and / or Type 2 (HIV-2). Used in the diagnosis of established HIV infection, detecting primary HIV infection after exposure and screening for HIV infection in higher-risk populations /patients with indicator conditions.

BASHH Guidelines.

Also used as part of screening programmes (e.g. antenatal, haemodialysis). Detectable HIV antigen / antibodies are produced 4 weeks after exposure to the virus in 95% of cases. Initial negatives may require re-testing if within 4 weeks of exposure and repeated again at 3 months. Newly reactive samples are sent to the reference laboratory for confirmation serology.

Availability: Available locally Monday - Friday during routine hours: 08:45 - 17:15.
Available out of hours on telephone request.

Turnaround Time: Same Day - 3 Days

Related Tests:

Specimen Type(s)
  • Clotted blood;
Other Acceptable Specimen Type(s)
Specimen Container - Adult
  • Gold Top SST BD;
Specimen Container - Paediatric
  • Plain Top Sarstedt;
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) p24 antigen;
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 (HIV-1) antibodies;
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 2 (HIV-2) antibodies;
Part of a test profile?
Infectious diseases in pregnancy screening (IDPS)
Volume (min) of sample to be sent to laboratory
5 - 10mL
Patient Preparation, Sample Handling and Transport
  • Consent for testing must be obtained and the request form must be completed.
  • Minimum-clotting time 30 minutes.
  • Do NOT send grossly haemolysed specimens (> 500 mg/DL)
  • Do NOT send specimens with obvious microbial contamination.
  • Specimens should be transported to the laboratory as soon as possible.
  • Outside of normal hours samples should be refrigerated (2 °C to 8 °C).
Maximum add on time
2 Years
Units and Reference Ranges / Interpretation
Results: HIV antigen/antibody NOT detected.

If primary HIV infection is clinically suspected, send a further sample within 14 days to repeat HIV testing.

UKAS number
UKAS accredited test?

Specimens from patients who have received preparations of mouse monoclonal antibodies for diagnosis or therapy may contain human anti-mouse antibodies (HAMA). Specimens containing (HAMA) may produce anomalous values when tested.

Heterophilic antibodies in human serum can react with reagent immunoglobulins, interfering with in vitro immunoassays. Patients routinely exposed to animal or to animal serum products can be prone to this interference.

If you have any queries about a test or results interpretation please contact us.

Last updated: 31-05-2023