Standard testing - the antibody test
The HIV antibody test is a blood test that tells you if you have been infected with HIV.
The body makes antibodies in response to infections. HIV antibodies are usually detected in the blood within 12 weeks after you have been infected with HIV.
If the test is positive, it means you are infected with HIV and can pass the virus on to others. The test does not tell when you became infected or when you will get sick.
A negative test means you are not infected. A test done before 12 weeks may not show correct results because it usually takes up to 12 weeks for your body to make HIV antibodies. Your health care provider will tell you if you need another test.
See client info sheet for more information on HIV standard testing.
HIV point of care testing
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) point of care (POC) testing refers to the practice of providing pre-test counselling, post-test counselling and a preliminary HIV antibody result at the time of testing outside of a designated laboratory.
The Guidelines for the Use of HIV Point of Care (POC) Test Kits in Saskatchewan outline situations and settings where HIV POC testing should be considered, pre- and post-test counselling guidelines to accompany the test and the public health roles and responsibilities under The Public Health Act, 1994 in relation to HIV POC testing.
For detailed information on how to set up a site to perform HIV POC testing and standard operating procedures, visit the Roy Romanow Provincial Laboratory (RRPL) Compendium of Tests.