Aids Testing

Sun Sep 10 12:04:20 EST 1995

Julia Paonessa <paoness at> wrote:
>Hello, I have a few questions on present day AIDS testing. 
>Is there a certain blood concentration of HIV that must be reached >before the test will give a positive result?

Present day "AIDS testing" does not test for AIDS but for antibody 
against HIV.  There is no single test that tell whether one has 
AIDS, but the ELISA and Western Blot can demonstrate presence of antibody 
against HIV.  There is no specific correlation between the amount of 
virus in the blood and the amount of antibody present.  The determining 
factor in all this, then, is the amount of antibody, not the amount of 
virus.  Given that, however, there probably is a minimum amount of virus 
that must be present in order to stimulate the immune system sufficiently 
for it to make enough antibody to be detected.  As far as I know, that 
amount has not been determined.  

Larry D. Farrell, Ph.D.
Professor of Microbiology
Idaho State University

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