Which lab tests are performed to diagnose HIV infection?

Updated: Jan 02, 2020
  • Author: Robert J Carpenter, DO, FACP; Chief Editor: John Bartlett, MD  more...
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Patients with suspected acute human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection should undergo serum testing for HIV antibody and HIV antigen using HIV nucleic acid amplification, HIV p24 antigen, fourth-generation enzyme-linked immunoassay (ELISA) (antibody and antigen), or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing for viral load. Beware of false-positive HIV viral load test results (< 15,000 RNA copies/mL blood). [6, 5] For more information, see Rapid Testing for HIV and Laboratory Assays in HIV Infection.

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