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Test for HIV specific CTL's:
Nov 27, 2003

Dr. Boyle, I have been classified as "HEPS" (highly exposed to HIV, persistently seronegative) - repeatedly negative by ELISA's and undetectable VL after the window period, but other bloodwork (CD4/CD8 ratio, CD4 absolute and percentage, etc.) and symptoms suggestive of possible HIV infection.

My ID specialist wants to do a test for HIV specific CTL's (cytotoxic T Lymphocytes) by the ELISPOT assay - my question is this: is this test for HIV specific CTL's another way to diagnostically establish HIV infection where there were high risk exposures and subsequent chronic viral symptoms, but where serology and PCR tests are repeatedly negative after the window period? I would really appreciate your explaining the significance of this test and what a positive ELISPOT result would mean.

Many thanks,

Regards.

Response from Dr. Boyle

Some individuals have been documented to develop an immune response to HIV, indicating that they have been exposed to HIV at some point, but not have an active infection. This is what, in essence, your doctor would be checking for. This test would not establish that you have HIV infection, but would indicate a prior exposure.



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