HIV Antibody-2 Test

This test determines if a person's blood has antibodies to one of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 or HIV-2).

This test determines if a person's blood has antibodies to one of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 or HIV-2).

This test determines if a person's blood has antibodies to one of the human immunodeficiency viruses (HIV-1 or HIV-2).

  • HIV-1 is the most common type found in the United States. It is the causative agent of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • HIV-2 has a higher prevalence in parts of Africa. It is closely related to simian AIDS, or SIV. SIV is a HIV-like virus that can infect monkeys and apes and cause a disease similar to AIDS. HIV and SIV are closely related viruses. By studying SIV, researchers can learn about HIV.

A few weeks after exposure to a HIV virus the body makes antibodies to fight the infection. These antibodies remain in the blood, which makes this a useful test for determining if you have been infected with one of the HIV viruses.

  • Most people develop antibodies to HIV about two to eight weeks after exposure.
  • Ninety-seven percent of infected people have antibodies in their blood within three months after infection. However, in rare cases it may take up to six months.
  • If the result of the first test is positive, another test will be done to confirm the results.
  • If you're tested for HIV antibodies within three months of possible exposure and the result is negative, the CDC recommends retesting after three months.
  • Unlike many other viral infections, the presence of HIV antibodies does not mean you are immune to the virus due to a previous infection or immunization.

A blood test is used to test for these antibodies. However, sometimes oral fluids (obtained by thoroughly swabbing the upper and lower gums) are also tested.

Your healthcare provider may order an HIV antibody test as a routine screening, if you are pregnant, or you are at increased risk for HIV. The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends that:

  • Everyone between the ages of 15 to 65 be screened for HIV at least once.
  • All pregnant women be screened for HIV. In addition, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) recommends that women at high risk may have repeat testing in their third trimester.The CDC recommends annual screening for those at high risk for contracting HIV.

In an adult, the blood sample is taken from a vein in the arm.

  • No special preparation is needed for this test.

This care path's costs do not include the charge to draw blood from a vein (venipuncture). There will only be one charge to draw blood, even if multiple tests are being performed on the samples that are taken.

What should I ask my healthcare provider before having this test?

  • Is there any special preparation for the test? (If so, get clear instructions on what you need to do.)
  • What is the reason for this particular test? Will the test results change my treatment plan? If not, do I need the test?
  • What other testing will I need if the test is negative? Is positive?
  • Are my test results secure? Who can see the results?


Also known as:

White Blood Cell
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