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Urine based HIV test

This was approved in 1996 by FDA as a screening test for HIV. This test uses urine samples to detect HIV antibodies using ELISA method. This test is not considered as accurate as blood test in detecting HIV infection. Urine based test could give false positive result in one or two persons out of hundred. Therefore a positive ELISA screening test must be followed by a confirmatory western blot test or IFA or RIPA and then results confirmed.

CD4 test: The CD4 count in individuals not affected by HIV is normally above 500 cells per cubic milliliter of blood. In HIV infected people, CD4 count is less than 200 cells per milliliter of blood. These patients are referred to as immunosuppressed. HIV people do not run the risk for complications until CD4 cells are fewer than 200 cells per milliliter of blood. A declining number of CD4 count indicates the advancement of the disease. A low CD4 cell count signals that the person is at risk for one of the many unusual infections that occur in individuals who are immunosuppressed. CD4 count is also indicative of the type of therapy the person should undergo to prevent 'opportunistic infections'.

Viral load: The viral load predicts whether or not the CD4 cells will decline in the coming months. Knowledge of the amount of viral load can be instrumental in predicting the development of the disease. Those persons with high viral loads are more likely to experience a decline in CD4 cells and progression of the disease than those with lower viral loads. The viral load is also a vital tool for monitoring the effectiveness of the new therapies and determining when the drug stops working. The greater the decline of viral load after beginning therapy, the longer it will remain suppressed. In general it can be said that a poor response to HIV therapy or treatment failure would include individuals who fail to experience a decline in viral load of approximately 100 fold in the first 8 weeks and have a viral load of greater than 500 copies per ml by week 12 or have levels greater than 50 -75 copies per ml by week 24.

Drug resistance testing: This test is being used in individuals who are experiencing poor response to HIV therapy or treatment failure. The US department of health and human services (DHHS) in their recent guidelines have suggested that 'resistance testing' can be considered in individuals who have never been on therapy particularly in the first months or even years of infection to determine if they might have acquired HIV that is resistant to drugs. DHHS even formally recommend such testing to be performed in individuals starting therapy for the first time.

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Collection of Pages - Last revised Date: April 22, 2024