Antibodies?

Question

I'm sorry doctor to bother you. I know you mention to search the archives but sometimes a question is not answered or answered clearly in the archives, like this one. When they say the HIV antibody test is looking for the antibodies does this mean the body makes antibodies only for HIV? I know I'm being confusing but I thought that all antibodies were identical. I am not a biologist or scientist sorry.

Miguel

Answer

Hi Miguel,

Antibodies are proteins made by the body's immune system that circulate in the blood. They are not all identical! In fact antibodies are quite different. They are made specifically to react against germs that invade the body, such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, parasites, etc. The HIV-antibody test searches for anti-HIV antibodies. If they are found, it is evidence the person is infected with HIV, because their immune system manufactured these very specific anti-HIV antibodies as a consequence of HIV being present in that person's body.

Dr. Bob