HIV Antibody & P24 Antigen




4 -12 hours



Care Quality Commission
Primary Care & Diagnostics Finalist Award

Blood test for early detection of HIV

In the initial weeks following HIV infection, the levels of P24 antigen in the bloodstream are notably elevated.

This characteristic allows the antibody p24 blood test to effectively detect HIV infection during its earliest stages, providing an opportunity for early diagnosis and prompt initiation of necessary medical interventions.

How does this test work?

An HIV antibody test functions by detecting antibodies that the immune system produces in response to HIV infection. A small sample of blood is collected and sent to the laboratory for testing.

HIV generates its own proteins called antigens, which antibodies are designed to precisely target. These antibodies bind to the antigens to neutralise them. Thus, when the body faces an infection, corresponding antibodies actively engage in the fight against it.

If no HIV antibodies are detected, it typically indicates that you do not have HIV. If HIV antibodies are found, it indicates that you have been infected with HIV at some point. Further testing is usually conducted to confirm the result and determine the stage of infection.

Why Get The HIV Antibody & P24 Antigen Test?

The HIV Antibody & P24 Antigen test is crucial for detecting HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), a virus that attacks the immune system and can lead to AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) if not treated.

The HIV Antibody & P24 Antigen test detects early markers of HIV: p24 antigen, present shortly after infection, and antibodies that the body develops in response.

This dual approach enables early detection, vital for prompt treatment and reducing virus transmission. Early treatment can significantly improve quality of life and longevity for those with HIV.

Woman doctor taking notes

Individuals Recommended For Testing

Individuals recommended to undergo HIV antibody and P24 antigen testing include those who engage in behaviours that increase the risk of HIV transmission, such as unprotected sex (especially with multiple partners or partners whose HIV status is unknown), and sharing needles or drug equipment.

HIV antibody and P24 antigen testing is also recommended for all adults and adolescents living in high-prevalence areas or populations. Individuals in a relationship with someone who is HIV-positive should consider regular testing, as should victims of sexual assault.

Additionally, HIV antibody and P24 antigen testing is recommended as a routine part of prenatal care to prevent mother-to-child transmission and for healthcare workers due to potential occupational exposure.

Gaining Insight Into HIV

HIV infection progresses through several stages. These stages are generally categorised as follows:

Acute HIV Infection (Primary HIV Infection): This stage occurs within the first few weeks after initial infection. Symptoms can resemble flu-like illness. Viral replication is very active during this stage, leading to high levels of HIV in the blood.

Clinical Latency Stage (Chronic HIV Infection): This stage is also known as chronic or asymptomatic HIV infection. During this phase, HIV is still active but reproduces at very low levels. People may not have specific symptoms or only mild ones.

Symptomatic HIV Infection (Advanced HIV or AIDS): As HIV progressively damages the immune system and the number of CD4 cells (a type of immune cell) declines, symptoms may become more severe. AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome) is diagnosed when the immune system is severely compromised, typically when the CD4 count drops below a certain level (200 cells/mm³).

Woman doctor pointing
Serious doctor with arms crossed

Common HIV Misconceptions

HIV cannot be transmitted through casual contact such as hugging, shaking hands, sharing utensils, or mosquito bites. It is important to note that while other body fluids (like saliva, sweat, tears, urine, and faeces) can contain HIV, the concentration of the virus in these fluids is usually very low or negligible, making transmission through these fluids extremely rare or non-existent under normal circumstances.

HIV can be transmitted through blood, semen (including pre-ejaculate), vaginal fluids, rectal fluids, and breast milk.

Additional HIV Testing Options

We provide comprehensive sexual health testing services that include a consultation with a doctor. This consultation helps determine the most appropriate testing options based on your individual circumstances.

Other than the HIV I & II Antibody and P24 Antigen Blood Test, we also offer:

  • Instant HIV Test: Provides results within 60 seconds.
  • Multiplex PCR Testing: Offers precise detection of early HIV, hepatitis B, and hepatitis C, with results typically ready in 3 to 7 working days.

If you have had unprotected sex, we strongly recommend a general sexual health screening to ensure comprehensive care and early detection of any potential infections.

Doctor with stethoscope


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Countries With The Highest HIV Rates

According to the latest estimates, in 2019, about 106,890 people in the UK were living with HIV. In 2021, in England alone, about 95,900 people were estimated to have HIV. Globally, at the end of 2022, 39 million people were living with HIV. The countries with the highest HIV figures include:

  • Eswatini (formerly Swaziland): Eswatini has the highest HIV prevalence rate in the world, with about 27.3% of adults aged 15 – 49 living with HIV.
  • Lesotho: Lesotho has a high HIV prevalence, estimated at around 23.6% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • Botswana: Botswana has made significant progress in reducing HIV prevalence, but it still remains high at around 20.3% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • South Africa: South Africa has one of the largest populations of people living with HIV in the world, with an estimated prevalence of around 19.2% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe has a relatively high HIV prevalence rate of around 12.9% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • Mozambique: Mozambique has an estimated HIV prevalence rate of around 12.6% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • Zambia: Zambia’s HIV prevalence rate is around 11.3% among adults aged 15 – 49.
  • Malawi: Malawi has a significant HIV burden, with an estimated prevalence rate of around 8.9% among adults, also aged 15 – 49.

How To Book A Sexual Health Screen Appointment?

book online or call us

Use our online booking engine or book your test by giving us a call.

Choose your test type

On the online booking engine select the “appointment type” you need.

meet with our experts

You will be seen by one of our friendly doctors or trained clinicians.

The Procedure

preparing for appointment


Please arrive well-hydrated. For accuracy, the best window period for this test is 6 weeks after exposure, with early detection possible as early as 10 days post-exposure. Discuss your options with your nurse to ensure you receive the most appropriate care and information tailored to your needs.

during the appointment


The P24 test is conducted using a simple blood draw procedure. A needle is typically inserted into a vein, often located on the inner arm near the elbow, to collect a small amount of blood. During this process, you may experience a slight pinching sensation.

post appointment


Confidentiality and privacy are fundamental aspects of our services. You have the option to choose whether you would prefer to receive your results via phone call or email, or if you would rather contact the clinic directly to obtain them.

Why Choose Walk In Clinic For
Sexual Health Screening?

in 1998

Experienced doctors & a professional team

not needed

Up-to-date with the latest treatments & testing


Experienced doctors & a professional team

Affordable private
health care

Transparent fee structure with no hidden charges


No hidden charges, phlebotomy fees or prescription charges.
Test prices do not include a consultation.

Instant HIV Test

  • 60 seconds turnover time

HIV Antibody And P24 Antigen

  • Most accurate 6 weeks from exposure
  • 4-12 hours turnover time

HIV-1 RNA, Fast Early Detection

  • Accurate 10 days from exposure
  • 4-12 hours turnover time

see other Sexual Health services

Book Your GP Appointment Today

Fast, affordable, high-quality GP and medical testing services with same-day appointments.

Specialist Medical Team

We work with experienced consultants & healthcare professionals who have received positive feedback from our patients, and with whom we have established long-term relationships.


How accurate are the results?
If the test is taken three months or more after the possible risk of infection, a negative result is accurate. If the test is taken sooner than this, it should be repeated at a later appointment. A positive test should also be repeated in order to confirm the result.
What are the benefits of early detection?
Apart from the issue of peace of mind, early detection can also help to prevent new infections of HIV. Almost half of new cases are thought to be spread by those who have been newly infected and are not aware of it. Those who have been recently infected also have much higher levels of the virus in their systems, which can make transmission more likely.
What does a negative p24 test result mean?
A negative result could mean that the person tested is: HIV-positive but infected before the early detection window; HIV-positive but with low levels of p24 antigen; HIV-negative.

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