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I Read the Archives, Still Confused, Home Access Question?

Apr 21, 2003

Ryan, Hopefully you can straighten this out. I read the archives regarding Home Access testing. And you replied that a 3 month test should be accurate for "most people" even though Home Access still, for whatever reason, uses the 1st Gen ELISA tests. After reading this, I began to doubt my 3 month Negative Home Access test, so I took another at 4 1/2 months, it too was Negative!

I prefer to test at home, and to my knowledge Home Access is the only FDA approved kit for that(please correct me if I'm wrong). The reason I prefer to test at home is due to the fact that I live in a very, very small town and that doctor/patient privledge does not exist. Trust me! My asking for an HIV test would be broadcast across the town....

So, is this 4 1/2 month negative test, combined with my negative 3 month test, conclusive even though I'm using Home Access and gen 1 ELISA???

The Home Access counselor told me that at 3 months the difference in sensitivity from 1st gen ELISA and newer ELISA averages about 5 days. I want to believe them, I believe they're good people, BUT they also have a vested interest in their product!!!! Your objective opinion would be valued!!!!!

And, how big of a worry is HIV 2 in the U.S.(My contact was not with somebody from Africa, nor was it a contact with someone known to be HIV infected, their status was unknown to me and it occurred once, I was the insertive partner with a female)? I know Home Access only tests for HIV 1....

As always, thanks for your response Ryan, us worried-wells really treasure your advice!


Response from Mr. Kull

You need a new doctor! Doctor-patient confidentiality is your right regardless of what town you live in. If he/she ever decided to breach your confidentiality, their practice would be in jeopardy.

Your negative Home Access test results indicate that you are not infected with HIV. Home Access is the only test that is approved for private use. While later generation tests reduce the window period, the majority of people will develop a detectable level of antibodies, as measured by first generation tests, within three months.

Ultimately, if you still don't have faith in the reliability of the Home Access tests, you might need to bite the bullet and get tested through your doctor or clinic. There aren't other options available. But again, based on the info, further testing is not necessary.

HIV-2 infection is not a problem in the United States. 94 cases of HIV-2 infection have been reported in the U.S. (2001). HIV-2 is endemic in certain regions of Africa (primarily western coast). HIV-1 antibody tests will detect HIV-2 infections about 70% of the time. If risk for HIV-2 infection exists, HIV-2 specific antibody tests should be used.

If you live in the U.S., are at low-risk for infection, and have not had exposures to people at risk for HIV-2 infection (predominantly people from endemic regions in Africa), then there is no need for aggressive screening for HIV-2 infection.


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