· The common tests for diagnosing HIV/AIDs include:
- ELISA Test — ELISA, which stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, is used to detect HIV infection (detects antibodies against HIV-1)and is both highly sensitive and specific
§ If an ELISA test is positive, the Western blot test is usually administered to confirm the diagnosis. If an ELISA test is negative, but you think you may have HIV, you should be tested again in one to three months
§ ELISA is quite sensitive in chronic HIV infection, but because antibodies aren’t produced immediately upon infection, you may test negative during a window of a few weeks to a few months after being infected
- Viral Load Test — This test measures the amount of HIV in your blood. It quantifies viremia by measuring the amount of viral RNA. Generally, it’s used to monitor treatment progress or detect early HIV infection. Three technologies measure HIV viral load in the blood: reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), branched DNA (bDNA) and nucleic acid sequence-based amplification assay (NASBA). The basic principles of these tests are similar. HIV is detected using DNA sequences that bind specifically to those in the virus
- Western Blot — This is a very sensitive blood test used to confirm a positive ELISA test result
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