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Last reviewed dd mmm yyyy. Last edited dd mmm yyyy

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The presence of virus antibodies to the HIV can be detected by ELISA or western blot techniques.

A protocol for diagnosis is as follows:

  • positive result: repeat with 2 different assays
  • still positive: request a second sample
  • still positive after 3 more assays: report as positive

It should be noted that antibodies to HIV may not appear until up to as long as 6 months after infection with HIV; where there is doubt, retest at 3 and 6 months.

It is very important to counsel any patient before the HIV antibody test so that they understand the implications of a positive result.

The patient should be encouraged to think about how they might react to the news.

The implications for life insurance and mortgage applications should be discussed.

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