Urine HIV Antibody Tests

Question

What are the details about the urine test mentioned on CNN

yesterday?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

In regard to HIV antibody tests, the first tests that became available used blood. More recently, antibody tests using saliva became available (known as Orasure). Now, a new antibody test is available using urine. All of the antibody tests (blood, saliva, and urine) use the ELISA and Western Blot techniques, and are subject to the same 6 month window period in order to get the most accurate result (see the posting How long do I have to wait until I get tested?, for more information).

The main advantage of the urine tests (and the saliva tests for that matter) is that needles are not necessary to collect a specimen. Therefore, if a person is a hemophiliac, or if a person has veins that are difficult to collect blood from, the urine and saliva tests are good alternatives to the blood tests. The urine and saliva tests are also good alternatives for people who do not like getting stuck with a needle, for blood tests.

The accuracy of the urine antibody test is similar to that of the blood and saliva antibody tests. The urine antibody test can only be done through your doctor. It is not available for home use. I do not know what the approximate cost of the urine test will be.

Urine and saliva both contain extremely low concentrations of HIV, and are therefore low risk body fluids. However, both urine and saliva have antibodies to HIV in them. So although both urine and saliva pose a low risk in terms of the transmission of HIV, we can still use either of these body fluids to see if a person is infected or not, by looking for antibodies in them.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).