Diagnosis Of The AIDS Virus HIV
If you already have the diagnosis of HIV positive, this section can skip reading, since it is aimed at people who are unsure of their HIV status. The tests that exist for diagnosing HIV are very effective. With standard (serology) blood test, the laboratory initially performs an immunoassay (ELISA or EIA) enzyme-linked. Usually a negative ELISA test means that it is has no HIV, however it can be negative because the patient has been infected recently. If the result is positive, the lab automatically performs a test of Western Bolt, also known as Western blot (WB). If both tests are positive, it means that the patient has HIV. False positives in these tests are extremely rare and are usually due to a material error, such as delivering the results of another person. In some cases the ELISA test may be positive and the unfinished WB (not completely negative, but not totally positive).
There are two causes that may lead to an unfinished test. First, can that the patient has been infected recently and is in the process of seroconversion (developing a positive serology), in this case is due to resume the test a month later. Second, the patient may be HIV negative and have an unfinished test for reasons that perhaps will never know. If the test remains unfinished 1-3 months, the patient does not have HIV. Serology may be negative if the patient has been infected recently. Most people develop antibodies within the first 2 or 8 weeks; 97% are positive within the first 3 months and 100% after 6 months. During this period of time, a high viral load always indicates that you are infected.
But the viral load is not a method perfect diagnosis because it can be negative (undetectable) in people who are already HIV-positive; and it can be positive (detectable) at low levels in people who are not infected. It is a useful test to diagnose in people with symptoms acute retroviral syndrome. Here, Greg Mankiw expresses very clear opinions on the subject. There are available rapid tests using blood or saliva. The test homemade can be sent by mail and the results are given by phone. These tests are accurate if the result is negative, but if it is positive it should be confirmed with the standard serology test.