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HIV Culture Test

  • Published: 2009-01-20 : Author: Johnson Pinto
  • Synopsis: HIV culture tests are used to detect the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus such tests may detect HIV antibodies antigens or RNA.

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HIV culture tests are used to detect the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus in serum, saliva, or urine. Such tests may detect HIV antibodies, antigens, or RNA.

An HIV Culture test is not performed in isolation. Generally, a culture test is performed with most other STD's by swabbing the cervix or the urethra (in males).

Culture tests are based on those cells extracted. Drawing blood and sending it to a lab for testing can ONLY perform an HIV test. It can take up to 3 months before the HIV virus is apparent in your system, so when in doubt, test monthly.

HIV culture tests are used to detect the presence of the human immunodeficiency virus in serum, saliva, or urine. Such tests may detect HIV antibodies, antigens, or RNA.

HIV Qualitative Culture is useful for obtaining HIV isolates from HIV-infected individuals and for diagnosing HIV in infants of HIV-infected mothers.

The Final report issued no later than five weeks after culture is set up; may be issued earlier if culture is positive.

HIV Quantitative PBMC Culture is a test, which is less sensitive than the qualitative culture test. It can be used to measure changes in the amount of infectious virus in PBMC during the course of therapy. The turn around time will not be more than three weeks after culture is set up.

The objective of the HIV culture test is to evaluate HIV infection. It is a method through which peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBM) and plasma is cultured.

At all ages, HIV culture test is 100% specific although the sample size is too small for definitive evaluation. After 3 months of age, sensitivity increases to 90-100% for HIV culture test. Some patients who initially test negative can became positive on subsequent testing. After age 6 months, all assays are equivalent in sensitivity and specificity. The predictive power of the combination of tests exceeds that of any single test.

HIV culture, formally termed peripheral blood mononuclear cell co-culture for HIV-1 isolation, is a very labor-intensive laboratory test that was used initially to establish HIV-1 as the causative agent of AIDS.

There are also quantitative cell cultures and quantitative plasma cultures. None of these culture techniques is used very much anymore, as they are expensive, difficult to perform, and labor intensive. Basically, these tests try to measure virus or virally infected cells.

The ELISA and Western Blot tests measure antibodies. Antibodies are specific proteins made by the body's immune system that are directed against HIV. Antibody tests and viral load testing by PCR are now the preferred methods for testing for and monitoring HIV infection.

To conclude the diagnosis of HIV in infants less than 3 months of age is problematic. HIV diagnosis in early infancy cannot be established based on one single test; a battery of tests may be necessary, especially in infants under 3 months of age.

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