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How accurate is the HIV test?

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th March 2008 03:00 AM

THE results of an HIV test are authentic if the test has been done in a credible laboratory. That is the only way one can know if someone is infected with HIV or not.

THE results of an HIV test are authentic if the test has been done in a credible laboratory. That is the only way one can know if someone is infected with HIV or not.

Dear Doctor,
I am HIV-negative and dating a man who is said to have lost a girlfriend to HIV/AIDS. However, he showed me results saying he is HIV-negative. Even his CD4 count was high at 800 cells/ml. The problem is I cannot trust this man. How foolproof is the HIV test and can one use the CD4 count to know if one is HIV positive or not?
Nelly

Dear Nelly,
THE results of an HIV test are authentic if the test has been done in a credible laboratory. That is the only way one can know if someone is infected with HIV or not.

The fact that the man you are dating once had a girlfriend who may have had HIV does not necessarily mean he is HIV positive because discordance is fairly common.

Discordance is when one of two people in a sexual relationship is HIV positive while the other is negative. The best way to rest your fears is for both of you to go for testing.

Do not rely on reports from your boyfriend or results whose source you may not be sure of. Where testing is provided, you will be offered all the necessary information you need about HIV/AIDS.

The other thing I see which is odd with your friend’s results is that he had a CD4 count done. Normally, this test is only done when one is HIV positive to find out how much damage HIV has done to their immune system.

Since a CD4 count is never used to find out someone’s HIV status one wonders why it was carried.

We can also find out if someone is HIV positive by doing a PCR test instead of the antibody test normally done. This is done when dealing with children below eighteen months.

Write to Health Editor, The New Vision.
P.O. Box 9815, Kampala
or health&beauty@newvision.co.ug

How accurate is the HIV test?

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