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Is ELISA test reliable?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At June 5, 2016
Reviewed AtJuly 4, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

I am 29 years old. I had protected sex with a call girl before five months. But, I want to confirm whether I was infected with any disease. I have read on the internet that window period for HIV is three months and hence to confirm I have undergone HIV testing called ELISA (Enzyme linked Immunosorbent Assay). The result of which is non-reactive and the value is 0.062. Again, now I repeated the test and it showed result as non-reactive with the value of 0.104. The two reports have been attached here. Regarding symptoms, I did not develop any fever or allergy in the last four months. Is ELISA test reliable? Is there any need for me to take any other test or repeat the test? Can I stop worrying as I have already covered window period? Why did the test show some value like 0.6 and 0.104? Does it indicate the presence of any disease? What is the window period? Please help me in detail as I am much worried.

Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com.

Let me answer one by one. Yes, ELISA is highly reliable (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay). It has got the sensitivity of 99.97% after three months of exposure, which means out of 10,000 HIV positive people it can rightly level 9,997 people as HIV positive. There is no need to repeat any test or opt for further test. You can consider it as confirmatory. Testing at six months is only recommended for those who has taken post-exposure prophylaxis with 72 hours of HIV exposure. There is no need to worry. If the condom was intact during sex, then you are not even at risk. Values does not matter as long as you are non-reactive and no two values of any test can be exactly the same, all have some technical limitations. Window period is four weeks in more than 95% infected people and for remaining 5% it can extend up to three months. If you still want to get tested, then go for HIV RT-PCR (reverse transcriptase - polymerase chain reaction). It will detect any HIV virus element if present, but in my personal opinion you do not need this.

Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Atishay Bukharia
Dr. Atishay Bukharia


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