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QUERY FROM THE PHILIPPINES
Sep 3, 2006

Dear Dr. Bob,

Greetings from the Philippines!

First of all, I would like to commend you for the selfless service that you are doing for countless people around the world on the HIV issue. Your dedication is not futile for you truly have reached out and touched the lives of many people, giving them the right information and heartfelt comfort, when everything seems to be hopeless.

I have been browsing this site for months now. I just have a question. Is particle agglutination test conclusive after 15 months? I had this test, after a possible exposure. Or is there a need for me for further confirmatory test?

Many thanks!

Jay-R

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi Jay-R,

Thanks for your kind comments.

Regarding particle agglutination tests, I'm not sure exactly what type of particle agglutination test you had done. Some early versions of particle agglutination assays were 95-97% accurate compared to the ELISA test. More recent agglutination assays, such as the gelatin-particle agglutination test compare very favorably to standard ELISA tests. (See post from the archives below.) All things considered, I would consider your negative 15-month test conclusive. No further testing is warranted.

Stay safe. Stay well.

Dr. Bob

serodia PA hiv 1 hiv 2

Jun 4, 2006

Hi Dr Frascino,

it surely is reassuring to hear comments, opinions and advice from Doctor, more assuringly, someone who really knows and "experiences" what he talks about. i mean that in the very best way. =) i have a query though. i've searched the archives for serodia or particle agglutination and i notice that it usually comes after a "doubtful" ELISA test or even a WB test. most clinics/labs here in my country offer serodia pa hiv 1/hiv 2 for hiv screening. ELISAs are available but only in big hospitals where most people do not wish to be tested (due to lack of privacy). small labs offer discreet and confidential and a more "caring" environment. is serodia as reliable as ELISA? i recently had myself tested at 100 days after possible exposure and the result came out negative. should i WOOHOO now? all the labs here though always say the window is 6 months. not 6 1/2weeks, not 3 months, but SIX MONTHS. we get pre-counseling before the tests so the lady said to me that the escapade i had three months ago will not be covered by the test. and i responded that i did not agree. then she was nodding her head a bit mumbling something like, "well, yeah i guess 3 months is ok" - in my native language, that is :P but officially it's 6 months here. anyway, how reliable is serodia PA? and if it is very reliable, why is it used (as i've read on some posts) only after some doubtful ELISAs, or in conjuction w/ ELISA? why not use serodia all the time since it is cost-efficient and quick?

by the way, i really did a WOOHOO after i saw the negative results, without knowing that it is widely used here in the forum. well, i really did more of a long WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! i was inside my car and some people in the bus beside me were staring at me :) additionally, i consider myself as a quiet and tough guy who do not shed much emotions, but when i read the inspiring stories of some posters and also your very encouraging words, i sometimes get teary-eyed.

thanks again,

ROB

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hey Rob,

An ELISA (enzyme immunoassay) is the most widely used screening test to check for detectable antibodies to HIV; however, this test is somewhat complex and requires specialized instruments and trained personnel that are unavailable in some parts of the world. Serodia HIV-1/2 is a simplified variant of a gelatin-particle agglutination test that does not require highly trained personnel or specialized instrumentation to perform. The comparative studies I've seen published in the medical literature and presented at AIDS conferences demonstrate the test is highly sensitive and specific and therefore compares favorably to the standard ELISA test. The three-month-versus six-month-window debate continues to rage on from place to place. Personally I feel that with our current very sophisticated testing techniques, a three-month window is enough for a definitive result, unless there are extenuating circumstances. You can read about this in the archives as I've addressed this topic frequently in the past.

My advice to you is to go ahead and "HOOOOOOOOO," even if the bus people think you're whacko.

Finally, I find quiet tough guys who can get teary-eyed to be wildly sexy!

Stay well, Rob.

Dr. Bob



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