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Is quick processing of blood sample important?

Oct 6, 2000

I recently got an ELISA test (negative) approx 8 weeks after a potential exposure to HIV. I know it was probably a little bit early so I am going to have another one at 3 months. In the meantime I am wondering if it is important that the ELISA test is made quickly after the blood sample is drawn? The reason why I am asking is that my hospital only sends blood samples for processing once every week and I missed the deadline by one day. Could it have any effect on the result that my blood sample had to wait for 6 days to be processed, I mean could a large amount of virus possibly have neutralized antibodies that might have been present in the blood when the sample was taken?

Response from Mr. Kull

I would assume that the hospital where you had your blood drawn has a specific protocol for specimen collection, storage, and delivery, and hopefully they adhere to that. The lab at my job does not deliver specimens for HIV testing that have been kept in the refrigerator for more than one week. That is the standard protocol for the New York City Department of Health, and I'm assuming that protocols are similar throughout the country.

Simply put, the HIV testing process should be accurate at the one week mark (and probably even a bit longer) after the collection date.


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