HIV - Hepatitis B - Hepatitis C Blood Test, from our experts to you.Dr Sam Rodgers MBBS, MRCGP
Chief Medical Officermeet our doctors
What is HIV?
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus which weakens and destroys the body's ability to fight infection and illness. HIV is the main cause of AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome). HIV is in the bodily fluids of an infected person - including semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood, and breast milk. HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine, or saliva. The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having unprotected sex with an infected partner, but the virus can also be caught by sharing needles during drug use. Some people experience flu-like symptoms for around two-six weeks after an HIV infection. After the symptoms disappear, HIV may not cause further symptoms for many years, but the virus continues to damage the immune system. Many people do not know that they are infected.
What are hepatitis B and C?
Hepatitis B and C are liver infections caused by a virus that is spread through blood and bodily fluids. Hepatitis B can be passed from person to person through blood, semen, vaginal fluids, and also by infected needles or syringes. Hepatitis C, the most common type of viral hepatitis in England, is usually transmitted through blood-to-blood contact. Although many people experience no symptoms, hepatitis B and C may cause flu-like symptoms, fatigue, jaundice, and fever.
What can I learn from this test?
Our confidential blood test looks for specific HIV antibodies that are produced shortly after infection. A p24 antigen test is also carried out to increase the chances of detecting an infection sooner after exposure. You can also check for hepatitis B and C infections with this test.
How to prepare for your test?
Prepare for your HIV - Hepatitis B - Hepatitis C Blood Test by following these instructions. If there is a chance that you have been exposed to HIV, hepatitis B or C then please let us know how long before taking your sample this occurred. Your sample should be taken 4 weeks after any hepatitis B exposure. Take your test at least 4 weeks after any possible HIV exposure, a repeat test is recommended at 12 weeks. Do not take biotin supplements for two days before this test, discuss this with your doctor if it is prescribed.