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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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3rd Generation?
      #203181 - 08/11/06 06:13 AM

I had taken an Elisa test and happened to ask what version the test was and was told it was a 3rd generation test. Does 3rd generation mean it is not as good as a 4th generation, or are 3rd generation tests ordered for different reasons than 4th generation? To my unknowledgeable ears 3rd generation just sounds less advanced, but I live in the US so I would think the latest would be available. Any comments?

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Anonymous
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Re: 3rd Generation? new
      #203187 - 08/11/06 07:12 AM

A 3rd gen Test is the same as a 4th gen test in so far as its sensitivity and specificity to detect HIV antibodies.

The 4th gen test also includes an additional component that also checks for something called p24 antigens.

p24 antigen is part of the HIV virus itself ( a capsid protein ). The presence of this protein invokes the initial immune response in the human body and typically appears in sufficient numbers to get detected from around the 10th day post exposure.

This potentially reduces the window period for a new infection to be detected.

As more of the p24 particles are replicated by the virus, the immune system responds by creating p24 antibodies that ultimately reduce, or eliminate, the presence of the p24 antigen. The p24 component of the assay may well return negative at this stage.

However, at this stage, the test will test positive for antibodies as most Assay providers insist that their markers for p24 and antibodies overlap.

The bottom line is that a 4th Gen test shortens the window by a week or so, AND, gives greater confidence in a negative result in that you have tested both for antibodies and the virus itself.

Hope this helps

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Anonymous
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Re: 3rd Generation? new
      #203270 - 08/11/06 07:50 PM

Thanks for the info! This is my 6 month follow up test so I guess the 3rd generation test was the correct one for me...

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Anonymous
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Re: 3rd Generation? new
      #203323 - 08/12/06 10:04 AM

They are all good, of course I could have said it was better than the 2nd generation test.

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Anonymous
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Re: 3rd Generation? new
      #203340 - 08/12/06 03:26 PM

What is a 2nd generation test? 3rd and 4th generation tests appear to just be equally modern, it is just that one is called for in instances when exposure is possibly recent (4th generation) since it does the antigen test also whereas they are equivalent if the possible exposure is more than a few months.

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