Which tests are used in the initial diagnosis of HIV infection?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Delia M Rivera, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

Detection of antibody to HIV is the usual first step in diagnosing HIV infection. In adults and older children, enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and Western blotting are used to initially detect HIV-specific antibodies. However, because maternal antibodies are present in neonatal blood, these tests are not used for diagnosis in patients younger than 2 years. A nucleic acid PCR assay is the standard detection method in infants and young children.


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