Oct 2, 2003
Someone told me that if labs didn't dilute the plasma that everyone would be hiv positive!!!!!! They told me that only when you dilute the plasma you can find ture positve and everyone has antibodies. I don't understand this can you please reasure me that the elisa test is good?
Response from Dr. Horwath
I'm not sure what you were told. However, rest assured that the HIV ELISA test is a highly sensitive test as long as sufficient time has passed between exposure and testing (usually positive after 3 weeks; virtually always positive after 3 months weeks). If the HIV ELISA is positive, it is always followed by a Western blot test, which is more highly specific for HIV infection and serves as a confirmatory test.
Nowadays, if a person is HIV-positive on these tests, the physician will often follow-up with a quantitative HIV RNA PCR in order to quantify the viral load before making decisions about treatment. However, the HIV RNA PCR is not an appropriate screening test, and should only be used for quantifying the viral load.
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