HIV Ab and Ag combination
Keywords: HIV antibody and antigen, HIV antibody/antigen, HIV antibody, HIV antigen
10 mL of blood in a plain tube. Informed consent must be obtained from the patient, prior to ordering the test.
Immunoassay for detection of both HIV-1 and HIV-2 antibodies and HIV p24 antigen. Specialised laboratories confirm positive immunoassay results by immunoblot methods.
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Positive is significant, if confirmed by HIV antigen assay for p24 or immunoblot for antibodies.
Diagnosis of HIV infection. Screening of blood, tissue or organ doners. Following exposure, the seronegative "window" period may be from 3 weeks to several months. Use of the combination assay decreases the time to detection of recent infection by 3 - 5 days compared with assays for antibodies alone. Occasional subtypes of HIV may be undetectable by some assays.
Positive indicated HIV infection and must be confirmed by immunoblot or p24 assay and by testing on a separate sample. False positives are rare, and can be further assessed by immunoblot, tests for HIV antigen or, preferably, HIV-1 RNA and repeat HIV antibody testing; see HIV p24 antigen, HIV-1 RNA. In terminal disease, HIV antibodies may be negative. HIV-1 is common worldwide; HIV-2 is less common and is largely confined to Africa.
Patients where there is a high clinical suspicion and are negative for HIV antibody should undergo p24 antigen testing of Proviral DNA assay.