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An HIV test works to locate the presence of a virus known as HIV or the human immunodeficiency virus. This is the virus responsible for causing AIDS, the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The HIV test can be performed on the saliva, urine or serum in search of antibodies, RNA or antigens. It takes between two weeks and six months before the antibodies begin to appear indicating an HIV infection. During this period, however, HIV is still very much contagious and capable of being spread.
The ELISA or enzyme linked immunosorbent assay is the first test physicians use to detect HIV infection. If there are antibodies present, this test will confirm it. If the ELISA test is negative, then further testing is not typically necessary. Physicians may also use polymerase chain reaction or PCR, Western blot and similar tests to either diagnose or confirm the diagnosis of HIV infection.<\/p>