Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) Western Blot
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV-1) Western Blot test is a laboratory test used to confirm the presence of HIV-1, the virus that causes AIDS. It is usually done after a preliminary screening test, such as an ELISA or rapid test, has indicated a possible HIV-1 infection. The Western Blot test works by detecting specific proteins (antibodies) in a person's blood that are produced in response to the presence of HIV-1.
The test involves taking a sample of blood and separating the proteins in it. The separated proteins are then transferred to a special strip of material (called a "blot") and subjected to a laboratory technique that allows for the detection of specific antibodies. If the antibodies are present, they will bind to the HIV-1 proteins on the blot, creating a pattern of bands. The pattern of bands can then be interpreted to determine if a person has been infected with HIV-1.
The Western Blot test is considered to be highly accurate in confirming the presence of HIV-1, but it can take several weeks to several months after infection for the antibodies to be detectable. It is also important to note that false positive results can occur, so a positive result must be confirmed with additional testing.
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