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ELISA/good for all strains of HIV?

Aug 29, 2003

Does a negative ELISA test after 6 months rule out infection with any subtype of HIV-1 Group M? Or is the ELISA just good for detecting antibodies to the main (major) strains of HIV-1? If this is the case, how can one be tested if one had possible exposure to rarer strains...subtypes of HIV followed by bad symptoms, and falling CD4 numbers....?

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Pierone

The standard ELISA test is very good for determining infection with the clade B strains of HIV that account for the vast majority of infection in the U.S. It is less reliable for establishing a diagnosis for group O and non-subtype B virus. If there is a reason to suspect infection with one of these strains (recent trip to Africa with unprotected sexual exposure) then a Amplicor (version 1.5) viral load test can be done to detect other strains. Hope this helps.

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