Jun 1, 2007
Dear Dr. Bob, I read recently that having AIDS is a factor that affects HIV antibody tests such as the standard ELISA. At what point is this type of test no longer valid for someone due to advanced HIV disease/AIDS? In other words, at what point does one's body stop producing antibodies that would show up in an ELISA test?
Response from Dr. Frascino
If the immune system becomes severely deficient due to any reason, immune functions, including the production of specific antibodies, can be impaired. In the specific case of anti-HIV antibodies and AIDS, impaired antibody production would only occur in very advanced disease, at which point the person would be extremely ill. Actually, this is a rare phenomenon, even in end-stage AIDS, and is certainly not a problem for folks getting routine HIV screening to determine if they have contracted the virus.
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