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Quest Diagnostics Test Code: 40085

This HIV lab test is used to provide a measurement of HIV genetic material in the blood. This is also known as a “viral load test.” HIV RNA testing is often used to determine how actively the HIV virus is reproducing in a person who has been diagnosed with HIV infection. This test can also be used to monitor the status of infection for a person who is undergoing retroviral therapy.

Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is the cause of AIDS disease. It is a sexually transmitted infection that currently has no cure. Most people only start displaying symptoms very late in the disease process. Therefore, it is important to get tested regularly. There are 2 main strains of HIV which produce the same clinical outcome. The HIV RNA by PCR test is an HIV lab test that is used to quantitatively measure the HIV RNA and DNA material in the blood. This is especially useful for earlier diagnosis of the disease, since the HIV 1/2 antigen/antibody lab test can be negative if the patient is in the window period.

This HIV lab test is performed in following conditions such as:

• Concurrent STD infection
• New or multiple sex partners
• Having unprotected sex
• Signs and symptoms of HIV
• Health care workers who are exposed to blood products
• Intravenous drug users
• Pregnant women
• Recurrent infections which are uncommon, e.g. tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus


This HIV test has no requirements


Specimen Collected
  • Blood
Estimated Time Taken

Turnaround time for the HIV RNA by PCR test is typically 2-5 business days.