The test that is offered for females is the 4th generation HIV test which is a HIV antibody/antigen test.
The test that is offered for males is the 4th generation HIV test as well as the pooled NAAT test. The pooled NAAT test looks for the HIV virus in the blood stream.
The 4th generation test is a great test and is the standard test when screening for HIV in BC.
The reason they just offer the pooled NAAT test on males is because we find in BC that the majority of people who get HIV are men who have sex with men. The benefit of the pooled NAAT test is that it will pick up a HIV infection a few weeks sooner that the 4th generation HIV test. We find that picking up these infections sooner can make a difference in people passing HIV to other people. This is because when someone first gets HIV the viral load is very high making it easier to pass on and people are unaware that they have HIV.
The other main reason is because the NAAT testing is expensive they have found it is best used with people that have a higher chance of HIV passing to them. They offer it to all men because of the concern that because of possible stigma with having sex with other men it could be possible that people may choose not to say that they do.
Let us know if this does not answer your question or if you have any more questions or concerns.