HIV Infection Lab Testing and Patient Education

To diagnose the HIV infection, such laboratory tests as ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) and WB (Western blot) are used. The use of these two tests in order to prove the results of each other is supported by many studies and the existing evidence in the field (Chacón, Mateos, & Holguín, 2017; Feng et al., 2017). It is also important to pay attention to the fact that some researchers and clinicians focus on low sensitivity typical of WB. The percentage of false negative results for this test is comparably high (Feng et al., 2017). As a consequence, researchers propose alternatives that will require less time, and the results of which will be more valid. In their study conducted in China, Feng et al. (2017) found out that the use of ELISA with the DBS (dry blood spots) test can be more advantageous because laboratory workers spend less time to conduct test procedures and interpret results, and a fewer technological resources are required. Still, the validity of results is high, therefore, this cost- and time-effective pair of tests can be used in remote areas.

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As to patient education, one can add some details regarding complications that can be observed during and after the procedures though these complications are very rare. A patient should be informed that he or she can feel vertigo during the procedure. There are also minimal risks of developing bruises or some infections at the site where a needle was inserted (Chacón et al., 2017; McCance, Huether, Brashers, & Rote, 2015). Patients are expected to inform a healthcare provider if they take anticoagulant medications.


Chacón, L., Mateos, M. L., & Holguín, Á. (2017). Relevance of cutoff on a 4th generation ELISA performance in the false positive rate during HIV diagnostic in a low HIV prevalence setting. Journal of Clinical Virology, 92(1), 11-13.

Feng, X., Wang, J., Gao, Z., Tian, Y., Zhang, L., Chen, H.,… Qiu, M. (2017). An alternative strategy to Western blot as a confirmatory diagnostic test for HIV infection. Journal of Clinical Virology, 88(1), 8-11.

McCance, K. L., Huether, S. E., Brashers, V., & Rote, N. S. (2015). Pathophysiology: The biologic basis for disease in adults and children (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.

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