In 2010 a new HIV test, Abbott's ARCHITECT® HIV Ag/Ab Combo assay, a combination antigen-antibody test, was launched into the market. Research collected since its release suggests that the test can detect HIV up to 20 days sooner than than other HIV tests.
The reason why the test may work more effectively is because it not only detects antibodies like traditional tests, it all detects antigens. The HIV antigen is a protein produced by the virus immediately after infection. In contrast antibodies develop days after the infection when the body starts to fight it off. Since antigens are produced immediately, its levels will accumulate at detectable levels sooner than antibodies.
The potential to increase use of this test is exciting because sooner detection means individuals know their status sooner and can hopefully engage in treatment and prevent the spread of the disease.