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3. What blood tests detect the presence of HIV?

The standard HIV screening test is the enzyme-linked immuno-sorbent assay (ELISA) [also known as enzyme immunoassay (EIA)]. It is a highly sensitive (>99.5% sensitivity) and specific (>99.8% specificity) test.
 
If HIV ELISA test result is positive, a second test using the Western blot method is used to confirm the diagnosis of HIV infection. This more specific (and more expensive) test can tell the difference between HIV antibodies and other antibodies that can react to the EIA and cause false positive results. False positive ELISA results are uncommon, but can occur.

A person is considered infected following a repeatedly reactive result from the ELISA, confirmed by the Western blot test.

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