How accurate is the rapid oral HIV test? – Dr. Ashoojit Kaur Anand

The rapid tests, there are two types, one is where you do a blood test, that means the plasma of the blood is taken to do the rapid tests, which is called as the ELISA tests which tests for the antigen and the antibodies in the blood, which, means the proteins of the virus and the antibodies, that forms in the blood, these are tested and the rapid oral test where the secretions from your mouth, that is the saliva is used for testing for the antibodies. Here in the oral tests, you cannot test for the antigens, that means you cannot test if the virus is there. It only tests for the antibodies. This test is not very sensitive or specific, which means it might give you a false negative report which means a person might be having HIV, but the test might come negative. So the specificity is very low. So that makes the test not very reliable to say that the person is negative. So it is always better to do a blood test at various times whatever is given as per the window period when you should test for the ELISA or the 4th generation test which gets positive on the 10th day onwards and you have the PCR which tests for the nucleic acids pf the virus which is done at about 20 days. So at different times you have different tests to be done. So the accuracy of the oral test is very less.

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