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June 2014
Patient Care and Science
CDC Releases New Guidelines for HIV Testing
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new guidelines for HIV testing on June 26 to yield more accurate, fewer indeterminate and faster results. The guidelines, “Laboratory testing for the Diagnosis of HIV Infection,” are available here and mark what the agency is calling “a new era in HIV testing.”
The new testing strategy no longer includes the Western blot, a first generation confirmatory test that, while long considered the gold standard for HIV diagnosis, has been surpassed by tests that can yield results as many as 25 days sooner, and accurately diagnose HIV-2 infection. While HIV-2 infection is uncommon in the United States, the CDC notes that its accurate diagnosis is essential for effective first-line treatment.

The CDC emphasizes that no test or testing strategy can be completely accurate in all cases of HIV infection and that inconsistent or conflicting test results should be investigated with follow-up testing on newly collected specimens.

For more information, read the CDC’s letter to providers.

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