Blood Borne Virus Testing
Blood borne viruses (BBV), as the name suggests, are carried by an infected individual. That person may not in fact appear ill but is able to pass on the virus to another who will then fall ill. Drug users that inject are at particularly high risk by sharing needles. The viruses can also be passed on in vaginal secretions, breast milk and semen.
The most common BBVs are the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that can lead to the development of AIDS, and hepatitis B and C. Hepatitis is a serious disease that attacks the liver.
We provide a comprehensive screening service for HIV, hepatitis B and C. The collection kits we use collect a small volume of blood for analysis.
Blood borne virus testing results can be returned within 24-hours of our laboratory receiving the sample.
Hepatitis C virus antibody testing
When hepatitis C has been contracted the human body starts to produce antibodies to fight the illness. These antibodies are often not detectable until after 12-weeks have passed so a test could be negative if the illness is in the very early stages. After that time has passed a hepatitis C virus test will indicate if exposure has occurred in the past (several years later) even if the infection has been completely cleared.
If an antibody test is reactive we recommend a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test be completed. This will indicate whether the virus is still active.
Hepatitis C polymerase chain reaction (PCR)
A PCR test can detect the hepatitis C virus within days of it being contracted. This sets it apart from the HCV antibody test. The test result will be negative or positive. It can also measure the concentration of the disease and is used post treatment to determine the effectiveness of the therapy.
Hepatitis B surface antigen
The hepatitis B surface antigen is used to screen for the condition because it is the first to appear after contraction. The results of the test will indicate whether the virus is still transmissible, active or negative.
Hepatitis B Core antibody
These core antibodies will be produced around 90-days after the illness has been caught; they will remain in the patient’s body until he or she dies. The test will indicate if an infection is current or has been present in the past. A chronic infection will be detected so that steps can be taken to prevent the virus being passed on.
HIV 1 & 2 / p24 antigen
HIV is a virus of unknown origin that will eventually lead to a patient developing Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) for which there is no cure. The virus causes the body’s natural defences against infection to fail, leading to an increased susceptibility of developing cancer and serious respiratory disease. Anti-viral therapies are now used to slow down the progress of the illness.
This virus mutates rapidly and the test will detect both the Type 1 and Type 2 strain indicating which one is active.
Early detection and treatment is essential to maximise the life expectancy of the patient.
This sexually transmitted disease has been with us for centuries. An infected individual will produce antibodies to work against the bacteria; their presence will be revealed by our test. The presence of the antibodies will show, either, that a person has had the illness in the past but it is now inactive or they are currently suffering from symptoms and are able to pass the disease to another during unprotected sex.