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Does a complete blood count test detect HIV infection?

Does a complete blood count test detect HIV infection?

Finding out early about the infection allows you to begin treatment immediately, improving your health and extending your life. Early detection also helps you take precautions to prevent spreading HIV to others.

This article answers whether normal blood tests like the Complete Blood Count test can detect HIV infection. 

How Soon Can HIV Be Detected by a Blood Test?

Human Immunodeficiency Virus( HIV) is a virus that spreads sexually causing progressive failure of white blood cells( CD4+ T cells) along with the complete immune system. The low CD4 count(below 200) indicates that the person is at a high risk of HIV. CD4+T( Cluster of differentiation) are the white blood cells( lymphocytes) that are an important part of the innate immune system and humoral immunity. 

Let us explore how soon can HIV be detected by a blood test. The patient has to undergo a standard rapid antigen/antibody blood test or Nucleic Acid test performed by a specialized HIV pathology center/ laboratory. Normally, the Human Immunodeficiency Virus takes 18 to 90 days to get detected after exposure. However, there is no cure for HIV disease but early detection can help in maintaining healthy CD4 counts.

Can a Normal Blood Test Detect HIV? 

Routine blood tests cannot detect HIV. Specialized tests like finding HIV antigens and antibodies, when performed at the right time, can help detect HIV accurately. In simple words, the blood tests do not include an HIV test. You will not be able to detect HIV unless you ask your doctor for the test. 

Can a normal blood test detect HIV? 

The general blood tests include blood sugar tests, blood fat tests, and liver enzyme index. 

  • Blood sugar test measures sugar levels in the blood to help diagnose the risk of diabetes. For accuracy in the results, blood must be collected after eight or more hours of fasting. 

  • Blood lipid testing also aids in the diagnosis of elevated blood cholesterol. The blood fat test measures cholesterol and triglyceride levels, including total triglycerides, HDL (good cholesterol), and LDL (bad cholesterol). When blood cholesterol exceeds 2.50 g/l, it is considered high. Triglycerides are considered high when > 2 g/l.

  • The liver enzyme index test helps determine alanine aminotransferase concentrations (ALAT or SGPT) and aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT or SGOT). These parameters aid in diagnosing liver diseases. 

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Can CBC detect HIV?

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) test also falls under routine blood tests. The CBC test quantifies the components of blood, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets, and their properties, like the size and amount of hemoglobin in the given blood sample. 

The CBC test helps identify basic abnormalities in the blood, enabling subsequent tests to diagnose the exact cause of the disease. 

However, the CBC can provide the first clue that you may be infected. For example, When your white blood cell count is high, your body is likely battling an infection. Other tests can then be performed to pinpoint the cause. 

Low white blood cell counts can be due to HIV medications, conditions that affect the bone marrow, or blood infections such as lymphoma that destroy white blood cells.

Similarly, a low platelet count is common in people with advanced HIV but can also be caused by certain HIV drugs or opportunistic infections. 

How is HIV detected? 

Several types of blood tests are performed to check whether you are infected. HIV cannot be detected immediately because your body takes time to make antibodies or enough of the virus to grow inside. 

How is HIV detected? 

The various HIV testing types include: 

  1. Standard HIV blood test 
  2. Rapid blood test 
  3. Antibody/antigen test
  4. Rapid oral test
  5. Urine test
  6. Nucleic acid tests (NAT)

A positive test result indicates that you may have traces of HIV in your body. Healthcare providers never diagnose HIV based on a single test result. If you had a rapid test, get a standard lab test to confirm it.

Even if you test positive for HIV, you may not already have AIDS, the most advanced stage of the disease. Talk to your doctor immediately about starting medications called antiretroviral therapy (ART) if you have any HIV symptoms; HIV treatment can prevent you from getting AIDS. 

Bottom line 

It takes several blood tests to confirm if a person is HIV infected. Normal blood tests like CBC cannot detect HIV. However, the CBC test can indicate an early sign of an infection. 

Visit us at Grace Laboratory if you want to get your blood tested. N


How long can HIV go undetected?

HIV is a noncurable disease and it can sometimes take more than 10 years to show its symptoms. As we know a person detected with a Human Immunodeficiency Virus can reach the most advanced stage- AIDS( Auto Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if left untreated. Therefore, immediately get in touch with the boarded-certified doctors to adhere to HIV treatment and medical care.

Can Normal Blood Test Detect HIV?

It is very important to understand that HIV is a deadly virus that expropriates the CD4( lymphocytes) cells found on the surface of the immune system and damages the complex network of organ and tissue strcuture. A normal blood test is a diagnostic tool that monitors how well the organs work. Therefore, consult the designated HIV blood test center to know your status.

What is the Most Accurate HIV Test?

According to HIV. gov( National Institutes of Health-NIH ) there are three types of HIV tests namely NAT( Nucleic Acid Tests), Antigen/ Antibody Tests, and Antibody Tests. Moreover, the fourth-generation newer antigen/antibody tests detect 99% of the infection and are considered the most accurate HIV test. HIV test is the only way to know your HIV status(HIV-positive). Your healthcare practicing doctor will diagnose and give you proper medical treatment to help you to live long. There is a window period of approximately 23- 90 days to detect HIV after exposure.

Which Test Detect HIV at the Earliest Stage of Infection?

During the initial stage, you will have some mild basic symptoms; however, within a few weeks, the virus multiplies faster through the multiplication process( replication) depleting and destroying the white blood cells( CD4). Antiretroviral therapy can control the HIV/ AIDS infection from person to person preventing going to the last stage- AIDS. Therefore, if you believe you have been exposed to HIV, please consult a doctor for a rapid antigen/antibody blood test or Nucleic Acid test to start your medication at the earliest before leading to the most advanced stage- AIDS( Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome).

Lymphocyte Count in Early HIV Infection?

As we know you cannot completely get rid of HIV; however, you can control it to stay healthy, and live long. It is important to get prompt medical care from a professional healthcare doctor and receive a healthy life-changing treatment. HIV finds the lymphocytes, CD4+ T( types of white blood cells), and starts killing them at a rapid speed through the HIV lifecycle process to reduce the CD4 counts( below 500 cells per microliter of blood). Moreover, if the number drops below 200 per cubic millimeter(cells/mm^3) then the patient is at higher risk of AIDS.

What Does the Standard HIV Test Identify?

In the branch of biology, foreign toxic particles like chemicals, bacteria, viruses, pollens, etc are termed antigens that are found on the surface of the blood cells. On the other hand, Y-shaped proteins are called antibodies or immunoglobulins that detoxify the foreign particles and kill the antigen. HIV is part of the antigen and the Standard HIV Test( antigen/ antibody) diagnostic test identifies both HIV antibodies and p 24antigens( HIV antigen) within 11 days to one month after getting an infection.

What is Platelet Count in Early HIV?

HIV can decline the platelet counts below 100,000 cells/ mL causing immune-mediated destruction. The low platelet/thrombocyte count is called thrombocytopenia with poor CD4 cell recovery with subsequent loss of the adaptive immune system. Consult your doctor if you are exposed to HIV and get a prompt initial antiretroviral regime( ARV) as soon as possible.

Which Blood Cells Get Affected by HIV?

There are three types of white blood cells namely granulocytes, lymphocytes, and monocytes. CD4 cells are the subtypes of lymphocyte cells that coordinate with macrophage cells, B lymphocytes( B cells), and CD8 T lymphocyte cells to work as effective immune responses to antigens and pathogens. Human immunodeficiency virus expands through mutation producing thousands of clones throughout the body by killing CD4 T lymphocyte cells.

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