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FOR HIV SPOTTING, TWO
May 4, 1999

This information from an article last year from a major magazine.

If you go to be checked for possible H.I.V. exposure, chances are you'll be given a blood test. While this test is considered highly sensative in detecting the AIDS virus, it's not fool-proof. Now a team of researchers from California and Italy have come up with a double-barreled test that can significantly increase the chance of spotting H.I.V. Their approach is simple: to combine the standard blood test with a urine test, both of which look for immune-system anti-bodies to the virus. When the researchers used this dual strategy on 11,334 people-- 1,181 of whom were confirmed positive for H.I.V.--they found that ten of the latter had been identified only by the urine test, while 15 were positive only on the blood test. In other words, some single-tested carriers escaped the net. Together the two tests ferreted out more cases. Are the researchers recommending that everyone who's worried get both tests? Yes, says Howard B. Urnovitz, Ph.D., The combo test, he says, "will definately detect some cases of H.I.V. that would be missed by the blood test alone.

You said the odds of a false negative was about one in a 1,000,000. This case study shows it to be more like one in a 1,000 or even less. It like winning free fries at Mc Donalds. Any comments about this information?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Again this data is only half of the story. This article appeared in Nature Medicine a year ago. No other confirmatory tests (ie HIV DNA PCR or plasma viral load, culture) were performed on those samples to determine whether they were true or false positives. Subsequent data has been presented which has shown that indeed urine testing has generated higher false positives than previously anticipated. MH



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