When it comes to testing for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), most people know that a positive or negative result means they have or don’t have the virus, respectively. However, what does non reactive mean? If you receive a nonreactive test result, it usually means that the sample did not contain HIV antibodies or antigens. This is great news, as it suggests that you are not living with HIV and have not passed the infection onto others.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that all adults get tested for HIV at least once, and those with certain risk factors can benefit from getting tested more frequently. There are many ways to get an HIV test, including quick, at-home tests and laboratory tests. The most common type of HIV test is an antibody/antigen test, which checks for antibodies and antigens in a fluid sample. These types of tests are the most accurate if they are taken at least one month after probable HIV exposure.
Another type of HIV test is a nucleic acid test, which looks for the actual viral DNA. These types of tests are more expensive and take longer to produce results, but they can detect HIV in the earliest stages of infection. Some tests combine antibody and nucleic acid testing to provide a more complete diagnosis.
If you are pregnant and receive a nonreactive result on an NST, it may be concerning. However, a nonreactive test result does not suggest that the fetus is at risk, and more testing is usually needed to determine why the results were nonreactive.