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HIV Testing

Sep 4, 2000

I know this question is already answered with the standard CDC Guidelines on HIV testing. My question is are those Testing guidelines accurate. I have been tested several times. The nurse where I was tested says testing is not accurate in some cases for many years. This is at a local county health department. My doctor gives the same response. This conflicting information really worries me. My test is always neg. But I don't really trust the results.

Response from Mr. Kull

I trust most of the scientific information out there on HIV. I also trust the HIV antibody tests.

It is not accurate or helpful to say to a person getting an HIV antibody test that it is not accurate in some cases for many years. That's just not true. I know of one case of an exposed health care worker having a negative antibody test at nine months and then a positive antibody result at eleven months. This is one case reported to the CDC throughout the entire epidemic. Not some cases, one case.

I believe the HIV experts. Most say that 95-99% of individuals will develop measurable antibodies in three months; close to 100% will have an HIV positive result in 5.8 months. The average time it takes to develop measurable antibodies is about three weeks.

Your nurse and doctor are just trying to be as clear and honest as they know how. Telling you that the antibody test is 100% accurate would be a lie. There are always rare exceptions. You can rarely be 100% accurate in science.


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