Nov 28, 2000
Read your recent answer from the 27th about hiv1/hiv2
testing. You state a hiv1/hiv2 test should be done after the 3-6 month window period? WHY is this NEVER stated any place else on here OR told to someone by the doctor??? Confused about your statement. PLEASE CLARIFY because you and others ALWAYS say on here that a regular old antibody test, elisa for hiv1 is 99% at
6 months? What gives?
Also you state a false negative rate of .3% in high populations? That is DAMN high and not low.
So if a person has multiple STANDARD hiv1 elisa tests
what does that mean???
That false negative rate should scare a lot of people
Ryan and I find it amazing.
PLEASE CLARIFY YOUR ANSWER. Although for some
strange reason I feel as though you will not...
Response from Mr. Kull
For more information on differing opinions on the window period, please refer to my response to Definite Exposure. The antibody test is over 99% accurate by six months. Different sources will define the accuracy of the antibody test as 95-99% accurate after 3 months have elapsed since exposure. Some of the most reliable sources describe the accuracy of the test as 98-99% accurate after 3 months.
Different studies will yield different accuracy rates of the antibody test, but to minimal and statistically insignificant degrees. The .3% false negative rate is based on ONE study of a cohort of 945 injection drug users (2,159 blood samples) in Baltimore. The 945 injection drug users all tested HIV negative on the antibody test. 7 of these persons had reactive PCR tests, which indicated that virus was present (a false negative rate of .3%). However, within 6 months, five of the seven people who were reactive by PCR who returned for follow-up visits had seroconverted, meaning they had become antibody positive. So the initial .3% was due, in part, to a false negative occuring in the window period. The HIV antibody test is still 99.9% accurate even in a population of extremely high HIV prevalence. Studies of low prevalence groups show that the false negative rate can be as low as .001%. That's DAMN low.
The HIV antibody test is one of the best and most reliable, specific, and sensitive tests in infectious disease medicine. It is not, and never will be, perfect. But it is currently the best that science has to offer and people should not be scared by the statistics that I present.
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