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Dr. Conway - Canadian 4th Generation Tests in CANADA??
Jun 27, 2007

Hi Dr. Conway,

I just recently was tested NEGATIVE at 16 weeks in Canada after visiting a local medicentre. The tests are sent to a laboratory and take about a week to come back. I was wondering if all Canadian laboratories (medicentre ones) are using 4th Generation Elisas'? Also, what is the difference between the 3rd and 4th Generation?

Thanks in advance,

Response from Dr. Conway

The fourth generation of tests allows for the simultaneous detection of HIV antigen and antibodies. The third generation is a test for HIV antibodies alone, and is still the one in broad use in Canada. The third generation assay is a very sensitive test and a negative result 16 weeks after a possible exposure means that you are not infected with HIV unless you have had a more recent possible exposure. The fourth generation tests would not present any additional advantage for you at this stage. They are possibly more useful early on after exposure, when antigen may be present and antibodies have not yet developed.

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