Ask the Experts about Understanding Your Labs – The Body.com

Gold Standard

Aug 4, 2001 [Here]

Hey Doc,

Why is there no Gold Standard when testing for the presence of HIV? Instead of looking for antibodies thought to be exclusive to HIV, wouldn’t it be better to isolate actual virus in a suspected HIV+ person?

Why are the standards of testing and diagnosis different in most countries to that of the US? If I test positive in the US, I may not test postive in let’s say Canada or the UK. Don’t you think that’s odd?

Are the tests standard in most countries for diseases like, let’s say, Chicken Pox or Hepatitis?

Response from Dr. Holodniy

I cannot answer why testing is not standardized.

.

viral load/gold standard

Mar 5, 1999 [Here]

having only taken the antibody hiv1and2 test, I wonder if this is enough. It sounds as if so many people are taking the viral load test to confirm diagnosis. Is this better than the antibody test. Are my husband and myself walking around positive, spreading it to our children blindly? We were tested outside of a six month window period and tested often through our blood donations we give semi-regularly. The reason i ask is that my husband has a gland(size of a pea) behind his elbow. Our MD is taking it out to look at it, although he seems reassured that it is a local infection draining from his finger(nail fungus), not cancer. Well, everything I know about symptoms, does not relieve me.

My husband also experienced some pretty bad dandruff earlier this winter that he is controlling with T-Gel shampoo and steriod cream on difficult spots. Do these symptoms alarm you? Can we have multiple negative tests, remain monogomous and still have AIDS. How likely is this situation?

I know there are people walking around with no antibodies, yet have AIDS. So reports indicate. The CDC said they have only 2 documented cases that took longer than 6 mos. Anyway, sorry to be one of those obnoxious worried goofs, but damnit, I am!

Response from Dr. Holodniy

You do not need further testing. The symptoms and gland swelling your husband has are nonspecific and can be caused by a miriad of things. MH

RTB Editor’s Note:

In this heterosexual couple, according to this specialist, many symptoms called “Aids” in “Aids patients” become “nonspecific,” but in a risk group, nonspecific becomes “specific” as in “terminal Aids.”

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