HIV-2 RNA PCR blood test detects the antibodies produced against HIV-2 infection. This is a sensitive test for the detecting the infection in the early days of exposure (approximately after 28 days of infection). The RNA PCR (polymerase chain reaction) is an antigen test which directly looks for the virus in the body of the suspected individual. This test is non-dependent on antibody response and instead looks for the genetic material of HIV i.e RNA.
What is HIV?
HIV is the abbreviated form of human immunodeficiency virus. As the name indicates it is a viral infection which leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). AIDS can be caused due to either HIV-1 or HIV-2 infection. HIV-1 is the most widely spread virus all over the world. Whereas HIV-2 is prevalent in certain regions like France, West Africa, Portugal, and India. The HIV-2 infection has a slower rate of disease progression when compared to HIV-1 infected individuals. If the individual is infected with HIV, the virus gets replicated by making many copies of itself. The main targeted cells for HIV infection is CD-4. CD-4 cells are a type of white blood cells and help in fighting infections. The virus replicates and spreads all over the body, mostly it gets spread into lymph nodes and spleen. In most cases, the HIV infection remains asymptomatic in early stages of the infection. During this asymptomatic stage, the virus replicates and increases in the number and starts destroying CD-4 cells. For about 3-8 weeks the immune system produces antibodies to fight against HIV and the HIV viral load decreases and the symptoms cannot be seen but the infection remains. Hence it is important to detect the infection as early as possible so that the treatment can be started. This HIV infection can be treated but not cured.
Why this test is performed?
This test may be recommended to you, if you are suspected to have HIV infection (in cases of unprotected sex or shared needles) or previously been diagnosed with HIV-2 infection or if you are receiving antiretroviral therapy, then to check the effectiveness of the treatment. This test may also be recommended if you experience symptoms like fever, headache, sore throat, dry cough and tiredness for a long time, swollen lymph nodes, muscle aches, joint pains, skin rashes, itching, red breakouts, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, sweating at night, etc. This test may also be recommended during pregnancy to find out whether you have HIV.
This test results may be altered if you have had a vaccine like a flu shot or present with an active infection. This test is not recommended for at least 4 weeks after vaccination or infection.
Inform your doctor if you are on any medications, have any allergies or underlying medical conditions before your HIV 2 RNA. Your doctor will give specific instructions depending on your condition on how to prepare for HIV 2 RNA.
No specific preparation is required for this test.
The reference range may vary depending on the gender, age, health history, your condition, etc.
If your test results show positive, it means the HIV-2 virus is present in your body.
If your test results show negative, then it indicates the absence of HIV-2 virus in your body or in few cases the HIV-2 virus levels are present but not in adequate amounts to be detected by this test. If you get abnormal test results to consult your doctor immediately. Your doctor may recommend other tests depending on your test results.
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