The Standard HIV Test. The whole thing is worth a deep read, goat-serum, cross-reactivity and all.
Some annotated excerpts:
“SUMMARY AND EXPLANATION OF THE TEST
Published data indicate a strong correlation between the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and a retrovirus referred to as Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV).”
- Strong correlation? Referred to? Awfully polite language, or maybe they’re just being more honest than is usual.
“Currently, two HIV serotypes, designated as HIV-1 and HIV-2, have been identified based on the results of serologic and molecular studies. Both HIV serotypes have been isolated from patients with AIDS and AIDS-related complex (ARC), as well as from apparently healthy individuals at high risk for AIDS.”
- ie. You can find what they’re calling HIV in “apparently healthy individuals” and persons with immune deficiency. Good to know. So what are they calling “HIV”? Proteins and cloned genetic material – that you can find in healthy persons and sick persons.
- Good to know!
“A majority of patients who exhibit symptoms of AIDS or ARC have HIV specific antibodies in their blood. In addition, a significant proportion of apparently healthy individuals at increased risk for AIDS also contain HIV specific antibodies in their blood specimens.”
- ie You can find antibodies in healthy and ill persons that grab onto the synthetic proteins in the HIV tests.
“The Vironostika HIV-1 Plus O Microelisa System assay was designed to be highly sensitive for a spectrum of HIV-1 serotypes, including group O virus. As a result, nonspecific reactions may occasionally be seen in specimens from people who have prior pregnancy, blood transfusion, or exposure to human cells or media containing cultured HIV antigen.”
“Because of these and other potential nonspecific reactions, specimens reactive with the Vironostika HIV-1 Plus O Microelisa System assay should be confirmed with a confirmatory test ,e.g., Western Blot.”
- ie. Don’t use this test alone! But the Western Blot tests say the same thing. Same cross-reactions, same proteins, same garbage.
“Reactive specimens upon initial testing with the Vironostika HIV-1 Plus O Microelisa System assay should be re-tested in duplicate.”
- Do it twice, just to be sure – well, actually, it doesn’t matter…
“Reactivity in either or both of the duplicate tests indicates a potential for the presence of HIV-specific antibody.”
- “Potential?” So, this is not a test for any particular virus, or any particular antibodies.”
“In individuals at increased risk of infection, such as homosexual men, hemophiliacs, or intravenous drug users, repeatedly reactive specimens are usually found to contain antibodies to HIV by additional, more specific tests.”
- ie. “Additional, more specific tests” – that’s what all HIV tests say. Of course, there are no “more specific tests.”
“However, when the ELISA is used to screen populations with a low prevalence of HIV infections, nonspecific reactions may be more common than specific reaction.”
- ie. “If we don’t think you have it, because you don’t fit the profile, then you don’t have it. You’re “nonspecific,” regardless of what the test says.”
“Information about prevalence of HIV infections in persons in various categories of risk, as well as clinical and public health guidelines, are available in each CDC publication of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Reports.”
- Hey, I thought it was a non-denominational Sex Plague!
“Although information about the degree of risk for HIV-1 infection and the degree of reactivity of the serum are of value in interpreting the test, a diagnosis should not be based only on this information.”
- ie – You must interpret the test according to risk group (color, economic strata, sexual preference) and the strength of the reaction (because it’s certainly not a specific reaction, but, (and this is schizophrenic), you’re being told that you can’t diagnose them based solely on these criteria. Because this is not a test for any particular particle. So how do you diagnose?
“Therefore, it is appropriate to investigate repeatedly reactive specimens by additional, more specific tests, such as Western Blot, immunofluorescence, radioimmunoprecipitation, viral antigen based immunoassays, peptide ELISAs, or nucleic acid amplification assays.”
- That’s clever. “Don’t use this test, use these other tests.” But none of these tests are more specific, and none are virologic, or they’d use them first. And that’s the way they do it – divide and conquer. Confuse and obfuscate. Just get them in the loop.
To assess the performance of the test with specimens collected from high-risk populations, fifteen hundred and fourteen (1,514) specimens were collected from four high-risk populations, which included prison inmates, STD (sexually transmitted diseases) clinic patients, inner city hospital emergency room patients, and HIV-1 outreach clinic patients.”
- STD clinics, inner city hospitals, prisons, and from the top of the paper, gay men – that’s who the test is considered accurate for, that’s who it’s used on. But not white, sexually-active (to promiscuous) college students, 20, 30 or 40-somethings. Just the underclass.