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Nov 18, 1996

I was recently tested for Lyme Disease having been bitten by a deer tick. My understanding is that they test for Lyme via an ELISA Test. Is this the same test as for HIV? Also, if they were specifically looking for Lyme, would the doctors be able to tell if HIV antibodies were present or do they have to specifically be looking for the HIV antibody? Thanks.

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi.Thank you for your question.

The ELISA test is a technique for testing for antibodies. There is not one ELISA test for everything. Rather, there's different ELISA tests that look for different types of antibodies to different infections. So there's one ELISA for HIV, another for detecting Lyme Disease etc. etc. An HIV ELISA will only look for HIV antibodies, a Lyme ELISA will only look for antibodies related to Lyme Disease and so forth. So the ELISA is actually a testing technique that can be applied to testing for various diseases. But each disease has its own version of the ELISA test.

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide). Rick Sowadsky MSPH CDS

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