What is the role of lab tests in the workup of HIV-caused viral arthritis?

Updated: Nov 12, 2019
  • Author: Rabea Ahmed Khouqeer, MD, FRCPC, FAAAAI; Chief Editor: Herbert S Diamond, MD  more...
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In persons with HIV infection, laboratory abnormalities generally are common but nonspecific, including the following:

  • Elevated levels of serum immunoglobulins
  • Moderately elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
  • Circulating immune complexes
  • Low-grade complement activation
  • Low-titer ANA
  • RF
  • False-positive test result for syphilis and anticardiolipin antibodies
  • Lupus anticoagulants
  • Possible detection of CD8 + T cells and P-24 antigen in synovial fluid

Human T-lymphotropic virus (HTLV-1) infection is diagnosed on the basis of detection of antibodies by means of enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA), with confirmation by Western blot and the observation of “flower cells” on the peripheral smear.

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