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Is performing ELISA test difficult?

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 3, 2016
Reviewed AtJuly 4, 2023

Patient's Query

Hi doctor,

Before 16 years, I had two high-risk exposure with sex workers, and the risk was condom break in both situations. After three months from my last exposure, I did an ELISA (Enzyme Linked Immunosorbent Assay) test for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) 1 and 2. It came back negative. Again, after one year, I made the same mistake of condom break with a sex worker. Then after five years, I did HIV test ELISA 1 and 2, and it came back negative. I was about to get married at that time. I did not believe the results because my brain kept telling me that maybe the last laboratory did not do a good job or that the one working in the laboratory did not know how to perform the test. They convinced me it was negative, and I do not have the virus. I did my best to believe it and move on in my life. I got married, and when my wife got pregnant, she did the HIV test in her first and third trimester during her pregnancy, and it came back negative. My questions are, is performing the ELISA test hard or easy? I do not know what ELISA generation it was. Should I believe and trust the laboratory? Is it possible that it has been more than 13 years since my first high-risk exposure, and I am still in good health? Can my wife get HIV from me? Please explain.

Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com.

ELISA (Enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) is very easy to perform and has a sensitivity of around 99%, which means out of 100 HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus)-positive persons, it will come positive in 99 of them. One person may come negative despite him being HIV positive. So, at first instance, negative ELISA means no HIV. But, high-risk exposure guidelines state that at least two negative tests from different laboratories should be considered negative. If all your tests are negative, then you do not have HIV. Yes, it is possible because chances of acquiring HIV after vaginal sex in females are 1 in 1000; that is, after full-blown vaginal sex with an HIV-positive male, the women will acquire HIV only in one such instance. So, in the same way, the chances of your acquiring HIV after vaginal sex with a sex worker is 0.05 %, that is 1 in 2000. So, you may not have acquired HIV even if they were positive.

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

Dr. Atishay Bukharia
Dr. Atishay Bukharia


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