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How is HIV detected

Jan 11, 2009

Why is the persons HIV status meassured on HIV antibodies present and not on the viral load? Why is this not done for other diseases?

Response from Dr. Horwath

The tests that detect HIV antibodies are the most effective screening tests. They have very high levels of sensitivity and specificity, and they are very cost-effective for screening.

Viral load is only useful for estimating the amount of active HIV circulating in the blood. A person could have HIV infection, but have undetectable viral load, as is true for many people early in the course of HIV infection or on antiretroviral therapy.

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