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subtype testing
Dec 24, 2001

How can I get tested for subtype from SE Asia? I've read that standard antibody test in the U.S. is for "B" subtype.

Response from Dr. Pavia

The tests used to diagnose infection (EIA aka ELISA and Western Blot are able to detect infection with all clades (subtypes) of HIV-1 with the possible exception of sub-type O. In the rare situations where there is clear evidence of infection, but negative antibody tests, the state health departmnent can work with CDC to test further. But, if the question is how to diagnose infection in someone exposed in SE Asia, there should be no problem with using standard tests.

Viral load testing is a different matter however. The version 1.0 of the Roche Amplicor PCR test is designed to work with subtype B and may give unreliable results with other subtypes. The newest version, V. 1.5 fixes this problem. The bDNA assay version 2.O and version 3.0 do well with all subtypes.

Hope this helps


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