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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course HIV: Structure, Replication, and Detection. Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Rapid Anti-HIV Assays Using Alternate Specimen Types

A rapid test is a single-use device that produces test results in a short period of time, usually less than 30 minutes from the time of specimen collection. Some rapid anti-HIV assays that are currently available can be used with oral fluids, and/or urine specimens as well as whole blood or serum/plasma. However, alternative fluids lack the sensitivity of blood/plasma.
The advantages of rapid tests, particularly those that use specimen types other than blood, include:
  • Greater flexibility in where testing can be performed; testing can occur at sites other than laboratories.
  • Rapid turnaround time may lead to quicker treatment, if needed.