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Current Methods of Hiv Diagnosis/Limitations

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Submitted By wes51586
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There are several different types of testing methods for diagnosis HIV. The most common diagnostic method is testing for the presence of HIV antibodies. Antibodies can be detected from blood, urine, or even in oral fluid samples. Samples taken from blood are the most accurate followed by oral fluid and then urine. Unlike blood, the oral fluid and urine are safer to transport test as they do not contain the HIV virus itself, just the antibodies. This method can produce results in 2 to 14 day. The main limitation of this technique is that is isn’t accurate immediately after the infection of the virus. It can take up to twelve weeks for the body to produce enough antibodies to be detected. In rare cases, it can take up to six months. This could cause the test results to return a false negative.
A new testing technique is testing for HIV antigen. The HIV antigen is a protein produced by the virus immediately after the infection. This method can be used for diagnosing HIV within day after the infection. The method can only be used before the body begins to produce antibodies to the antigen. This gives this method a low sensitivity and a short window to be tested.
Currently the U.S uses a method called Nucleic-acid-based test (NAT) to analyze donated blood. This process targets sequences located in specific HIV genes. This procedure is highly accurate and can be used after about twelve days of infection. One drawback of NAT is that it is very costly. Because of the cost, most third world countries are not able to take advantage of this technology.
CD4 cell count is a method by with a specific type of white blood cell is counted to determine the progression of HIV to AIDS. CD4 cells are the cells that are targeted and destroyed by the HIV virus. A healthy person’s CD4 count can vary between 500 and 1000. A person whose CD4 count is less than 200 is considered to have AIDS. This technique is also very expensive and can’t be used for early detection.
New rapid HIV test are beginning to come to the market. Most use the HIV antibody diagnosing technique and average at a cost of $50 USD. The most common rapid test allows you to insert the device into your mouth while it senses the presence of the antibody protein. This devices offer privacy by allowing you to perform the test in the comfort of your own home. They also provide results within minutes. The limitations of these devices are the cost and the fact that they are usually disposable.…...

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