Is The Rapid HIV Test Accurate?

To have a preliminary result that you are infected with HIV or not, many people often perform a rapid test. The exact quick test result does not depend much on when the test is taken. Let's find out more about this HIV test method through the article below.

What Is A Rapid HIV Test?

A rapid HIV test is one of the simple methods of testing and gives quick results. If other HIV tests show results in a few days, even a week, this test method will give you results in about 20-30 minutes.

This can be done by your doctor or you can do it yourself if you suspect you have an infection. Most of the rapid HIV testing methods available today are antibody tests to find HIV antibodies in the blood or body fluids if any.

To perform a rapid HIV test, doctors usually take blood from the finger or take saliva (oral fluid) from the person who is tested to check.


If you want to do a rapid HIV test yourself to see if you are at risk of infection, saliva (oral fluid) can be obtained. Then use a dedicated medical kit for self-examination.

If you have a positive HIV test, if you have a positive result, you need to see a doctor for advice and more in-depth tests to continue to follow up and confirm the final result is correct.

Is The Rapid HIV Test Accurate?

Rapid HIV testing is considered a clinical test method, often done for people who test for HIV for the first time. When performing this test method, many people still feel worried about whether the rapid HIV test results are accurate, can the rapid HIV test be false positive?

According to Dr. Nguyen Tan Thu – a consultant at HIV/AIDS Center said the rapid HIV test method often gives quite accurate results, and technical errors are less likely to occur. In addition, the test results always have a control line to determine the quality of the blood sample is up to the standard.

When the control line on the test result shows up, the test staff will read whether you are positive or negative for HIV antibodies. Accuracy can reach 90%, so if the blood or body fluids contain HIV antibodies (after the window period: the time between when you are actually infected with HIV and when found out HIV tests) the probability of omission is very low. So you can have about 90% confidence in these test results.

However, the downside of this approach is that the rapid response test has all components with a similar structure to HIV. So there will be some cases of false positives (ie testers are not infected with HIV but still give positive results).

If you suspect that you are infected with HIV and feel unsure about the rapid HIV test results, you can perform more in-depth tests to give more accurate results such as the HIV combo test method. This is one of the test methods that give a highly accurate result and can be done after 2-6 weeks. Are combo tests false positive? If you test for an HIV combo after 6 weeks of exposure, there are few false positives.


In summary, the rapid HIV test method has both advantages and disadvantages. Depending on the level of your suspected infection you can choose the most suitable test method.


  • Easy implementation (testers can do it themselves), easy to read results
  • Give results quickly compared to other test methods.
  • Low test cost.
  • No need for specialized tools and equipment when doing the test.


This test method is not highly specific. The rapid test will react with all components with structures similar to HIV, so it may cause false positives. If the reaction is low, ie the amount of antigen/antibody in the patient sample is low, false-negative results may be obtained.

HIV testing needs to be done in reputable facilities with a team of highly skilled nurses and doctors and modern equipment to give accurate results. Diag is one of the reputable medical diagnostic and testing centers with many high-tech testing methods for you to choose from. Contact Diag on hotline 1900 1717 for expert advice and testing for the most accurate results.

Please find the nearby location or the nearest branch your home to visit for tests and get quick online results. For more detailed information about our test menu and price list, click here.

The site cannot and does not contain medical advice. The medical information is provided for general informational and educational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional advice. Accordingly, before taking any actions based upon such information, we encourage you to consult with the appropriate professionals.