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ELISA/Western blot tests for HIV HIV ELISA/Western blot is a set of blood tests used to diagnose

chronic infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). How the Test is Performed Blood is typically drawn from a vein, usually from the inside of the elbow or the back of the hand. The site is cleaned with germ-killing medicine (antiseptic). The health care provider wraps an elastic band around the upper arm to apply pressure to the area and make the vein swell with blood. Next, the health care provider gently inserts a needle into the vein. The blood collects into an airtight vial or tube attached to the needle. The elastic band is removed from your arm. Once the blood has been collected, the needle is removed, and the puncture site is covered to stop any bleeding. In infants or young children, a sharp tool called a lancet may be used to puncture the skin and make it bleed. The blood collects into a small glass tube called a pipette, or onto a slide or test strip. A bandage may be placed over the area if there is any bleeding. How to Prepare for the Test No preparation is necessary. How the Test Will Feel When the needle is inserted to draw blood, some people feel moderate pain, while others feel only a prick or stinging sensation. Afterward, there may be some throbbing. Why the Test is Performed Testing for HIV infection is done for many reasons, including: • • • • • Screening people who want to be tested Screening people in high-risk groups (men who have sex with men, injection drug users and their sexual partners, and commercial sex workers) Screening people with certain conditions and infections (such as Kaposi's sarcoma, Pneumocystis pneumonia ) Screening pregnant women to help prevent them from passing the virus to the baby When a patient has an unusual infection

Normal Results A negative test result is normal. However, early HIV infection (termed acute HIV infection or primary HIV infection) often results in a negative test. What Abnormal Results Mean A positive result on the ELISA screening test does not necessarily mean that the person has HIV infection. There are certain conditions that may lead to a false positive result, such as Lyme disease, syphilis, and lupus. A positive ELISA test is always followed by a Western blot test. A positive Western blot confirms an HIV infection. A negative Western blot test means the ELISA test was a false positive test. The Western blot test can also be “indeterminate,” in which case additional testing is done to clarify the situation. Negative tests do not rule out HIV infection. There is a period of time (called the "window period") between HIV infection and the appearance of anti-HIV antibodies that can be measured.

Risks Veins and arteries vary in size from one patient to another and from one side of the body to the other. they reproduce viral particles instead of copies of themselves because HIV has changed their genetic code. 1. because the HIV ELISA/Western blot test will often be negative during this window period. eds. Obtaining a blood sample from some people may be more difficult than from others. or Kaposi's sarcoma appears (see link in References). . Latency is the phase during which an HIV-positive person experiences no symptoms. such as thrush. AIDS 4. Developing a detectable level of these antibodies (seroconversion) is the first point at which an infected person will test positive for HIV and occurs 1 to 6 months after infection. PA: Saunders Elsevier. the body develops antibodies against the virus. 2007: sect XXIV. or when an AIDS-defining illness. Cecil Medicine. and is in the "window period. As these cells are infected. when CD4+ cells are less than 14 percent of lymphocytes. HIV (the human immunodeficiency virus ) is the viral cause of the syndrome known as AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Pneumocystis pneumonia. During this time. If the health care provider suspects early (acute or primary) HIV infection. other tests (such as HIV viral load) will be needed to confirm this diagnosis. not everyone is HIVpositive has developed AIDS. Latency 3. AIDS is diagnosed in HIV-positive persons when CD4+ cell counts drop below 200 per milliliter of blood. in particular CD4+ cells. HIV is continuing to replicate within the body and the virus can still be transmitted to others. Philadelphia. Ausiello D. Although there are no evident symptoms. HIV targets the cells (lymphocytes) of the immune system . commercial sex workers) should be regularly tested for HIV. 23rd ed." a negative HIV ELISA and Western blot will not rule out HIV infection. Other risks associated with having blood drawn are slight but may include: • • • • Excessive bleeding Fainting or feeling light-headed Hematoma (blood accumulating under the skin) Infection (a slight risk any time the skin is broken) Considerations People who are at high risk (men who have sex with men. injection drug users and their sexual partners. Although everyone who develops AIDS is HIV-positive.If a person might have acute or primary HIV infection. Infection Acute HIV infection is the first stage of HIV infection. Effects 2. Alternative Names HIV testing References Goldman L. More tests for HIV will need to be done.

these are called AIDS-defining illnesses. Sharing cups.051. while AIDS is a syndrome. ________________________________________________________________________________ HIV and AIDS Human immunodeficiency virus. You cannot get HIV from: • • • • Touching or hugging someone who has HIV/AIDS. which means a series of conditions. Although people with AIDS will likely one day die from an AIDS-related illness. anus. or sex organs (the penis and vagina). Bug bites. When a person's CD4 cell count gets low. They are most commonly taken as a group. How Did We Get Here? How Does HIV and AIDS Cause Illness? HIV attacks and destroys a type of white blood cell called a CD4 cell. is the virus that causes acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). or HIV. In addition. Considerations HIV is a virus. fluids from the vagina or breast milk) enter his or her bloodstream. a person's ability to fight infection is lost. HIV and AIDS cannot be cured.875 people in the U. When the immune system CD4 cells drop to a very low level. This cell's main function is to fight disease. or telephones with someone who has HIV/AIDS. How Do People Get HIV? A person gets HIV when an infected person's body fluids (blood. 1. a therapy called HAART (highly active antiretroviral therapy). People with HIV are said to have AIDS when they develop certain infections or cancers or when their CD4 count is less than 200.S.S. Who Can Get HIV? Anyone can get HIV if they engage in certain activities. A person with HIV can feel okay and still give the virus to others. Both men and women can spread HIV. or through broken skin. Common ways people get HIV: 6. AIDS-defining illnesses occur in HIV-positive people only when the virus has depleted the immune response. • • Sharing a needle to take drugs. HAART may delay the onset of AIDS in HIV-positive persons. 33 Million People Now Live With HIV. The virus can enter the blood through linings in the mouth. According to the CDC. utensils.298 have died from the disease in the U. there are several conditions that occur in people with HIV infection with this degree of immune system failure -. Having HIV does not always mean that you have AIDS. It can take many years for people with the virus to develop AIDS. there are ways to help people stay healthy and live longer. semen.5. they are more susceptible to illnesses. CD4 count is determined by a blood test in a doctor's office. What Is AIDS? AIDS is the final stage of HIV infection. Having unprotected sex with an infected person. Treatment A group of drugs known as antiretrovirals are used to target different facets of HIV infection. Public bathrooms or swimming pools. You may have a higher risk of getting HIV if you: . They also estimate that 583. have been diagnosed with AIDS since the disease was first diagnosed in 1981. Pregnant women with HIV also can give the virus to their babies. The virus weakens a person's ability to fight infections and cancer.

multiple sex partners. A person can have HIV for many years before feeling ill. Some clinics even perform HIV tests without ever taking your name (anonymous testing). Receive a blood transfusion from an infected person. As the disease progresses. There is however a Home Access test approved which can be found at most drugstores. The blood is sent to a lab and tested for HIV. where all blood is tested for HIV infection. Clinics that do HIV tests keep your test results secret. Sweating while you sleep. This means vaginal or anal intercourse without a condom or oral sex without a latex barrier with a person infected with HIV. Before taking an HIV test: • • • Ask the clinic what privacy rules it follows Think about how knowing you have HIV would change your life Ask your doctor or nurse any questions you have about HIV.S. Consumers are given an identification number to use when phoning for results and have the opportunity to speak with a counselor if desired. They are OraSure and OraQuick Advance. People who are considered high risk (needle drug users. This is very unlikely in the U. A baby can also get HIV from the breast milk of an infected woman. the CDC changed testing recommendations. Because of the inaccurate results. and women may develop severe vaginal yeast infections orpelvic inflammatory disease. Health care workers are at risk on the job and should take special precautions. A small sample of blood is taken from your arm. You must go back to the clinic to get your results. for example) should be tested more often. Are born to a mother with HIV infection. A negative test means that no signs of HIV were found in your blood. Most tests looks for signs of HIV in your blood.• • • • Have unprotected sex. or the HIV test Who Should Be Tested for HIV? Recently. you should consider being tested for HIV. HIV Tests The only way to know if you have HIV is to take an HIV test. AIDS. There are other tests available that check for HIV in the urine and oral fluid. A positive test means that you have HIV. Share needles to inject drugs or steroids with an infected person. In this test blood from a finger prick is placed on a card and sent to a licensed lab. All pregnant women should be tested. . These symptoms often go away within a week to a month. Does HIV Have Symptoms? Some people get flu-like symptoms a month or two after they have been infected. If you fall into any of the categories above. What Are the Symptoms of AIDS? Signs that HIV is turning into AIDS include: • • • • • A fever that won't go away. Losing weight. Anyone who has sustained a needle stick or significant blood exposure from a person known to have HIV or from an unknown source. Feeling tired all the time (not from stress or lack of sleep) Feeling sick all the time. All adults should be screened at least once. Some health care workers have become infected after being stuck with needles containing HIV-infected blood or less frequently. There are currently two FDA-approved oral fluid tests. both women and men may experience yeast infections on the tongue (thrush). The urine test is not very sensitive. after infected blood comes into contact with an open cut or through splashes into the worker's eyes or inside their nose. and Western Europe. The disease can also be transmitted by dirty needles used to make a tattoo or in body piercing. the FDA has not approved any of the home-use HIV tests which allow people to interpret their tests in a few minutes at home.

If your disease has progressed to AIDS. Dementia. (neck.) The goal is to get the viral load so low with HAART treatment as to be undetectable on lab tests.that person is considered to have AIDS. How Is HIV Treated? We've come along way from the days when diagnosis with HIV equaled a death sentence. combinations of different types of anti-HIV drugs sometimes are called HAART. How Can I Prevent HIV From Progressing to AIDS? You can help prolong your life by taking good care of yourself and developing a good relationship with an experienced doctor specializing in HIV and AIDS. Also. anal. And. Today. Don't use condoms made from animal products. your treatment may also include drugs to combat and prevent certain infections. Avoid getting drunk or high. There's no way to tell by looking at someone if he or she has HIV. a range of side effects may occur. Mental changes and headaches due to fungal infections or tumors in the brain and spinal cord. into a strain resistant to treatment. or oral). Also. the progression of HIV infection. a skin tumor that looks like dark purple blotches. called AIDS-defining illnesses.or if certain infections appear (AIDS-defining illnesses) -. or change. when used in combination can significantly slow down and in some cases stop altogether. especially if medications are taken incorrectly or inconsistently. Use water-based lubricants. taking HAART therapy isn't easy. • • • • • Use latex condoms (rubbers) whenever you have any type of sex (vaginal. be consistent about taking your HIV medications as prescribed and getting regular lab work to catch any problems early. Unfortunately. the virus can mutate. What Is the Outlook for Someone With HIV or AIDS? . How Can I Keep From Getting HIV? The best way to protect yourself from HIV is to avoid activities that put you at risk. or underarms) What Infections Do People With AIDS Get? People with AIDS are extremely vulnerable to infection. there are a variety of treatments that. Never share needles to take drugs. every single day. After HIV infection is confirmed. your doctor will start you on a drug regimen consisting of several drugs. groin. How Is AIDS Diagnosed? If a person with HIV infection has a CD4 count that drops below 200 -. Always protect yourself. including: diarrhea. or abnormal distribution of body fat. Oil-based lubricants can weaken condoms. Chronic diarrhea. Severe malnutrition.• Swollen glands. nausea. Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing due to infections of the lungs. and often exhibit the following conditions: • • • • • • Kaposi's sarcoma. These drugs must be taken at the right time. for highly-active anti-retroviral therapy (HIV is a kind of virus called a retrovirus). People who are drunk or high may be less likely to protect themselves. How Do I Know If the HIV Treatments Are Working? Your doctor can monitor how well your HIV treatment is working by measuring the amount of HIV in your blood (also called the viral load.

Even with treatment. and the infection can progress to AIDS. the majority of HIV patients who receive appropriate treatment do well and live healthy lives for years. some people seem to naturally experience a more rapid course towards AIDS.It depends on how the virus responds to early treatment. . However. When treatment fails to decrease the replication of the virus. the effects can become life threatening.