Fact Checked

How Do I Prepare for an ELISA HIV Test?

T. Broderick
T. Broderick

There is no way to prepare for an ELISA HIV test. The enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) is a medical test that detects the presence of antibodies in the human blood. It can test for a number of diseases including HIV. The only thing one can do before the test is wait until at least three months after the date of suspected infection; taking the test any sooner is ineffective. If one suspects that he or she has contracted HIV, one can research HIV-related topics before test results arrive.

There is nothing one can do to prepare for an ELISA HIV test but go to the hospital or clinic and have the test performed. The ELISA HIV test is a blood test. After a centrifuge separates the plasma from white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets, the plasma is diluted and applied to a glass plate containing particles of the HIV virus. If HIV antibodies are present in the patient's bloodstream, they will react with the HIV virus on the plate. A color change indicates a positive result; as most tests are processed at commercial labs and not physicians' offices, results are typically mailed to the patient after two or three weeks.


If an ELISA HIV test is the only one available where one lives, one must wait the necessary three months after infection before having the test performed. If an HIV positive individual has the test before three months, the result will most likely be a false negative. This is because the body does not create antibodies to fight HIV until this time. The production of antibodies, though, creates the initial flu-like symptoms common to most HIV patients. Developing these symptoms are an indication that one should have an ELISA HIV test.

During the two- to three-week waiting period between having the test and receiving the results, one can use that time to study HIV and possible treatment options. The physician's office or clinic where one had the test most likely has literature related to HIV. Many medical and nonprofit organizations have websites that detail what a patient should expect after a positive diagnosis. If the ELISA HIV test is positive, a physician will have to perform a second test to confirm the virus' presence. Though a few extra days will be necessary for a final diagnosis, learning about the virus in advance will make one more prepared to start treatment.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


Is two days of HIV exposure is enough to transmit it to others?

Post your comments
Forgot password?
    • Nurse