Anonymous
Dear Dr, I had an exposure in Italy to be precise in 2010. Got a rash after that in my left armpit after that. Got really stressed at that time but didn't get tested in Europe. 3 months after the rash, I got shingles. I have to mention that I was under heavy stress due to the rash that came up. I came back to india after that, got recurring ulcers with swollen nodes for a year,not sure if stress was the cause of if shingles can have that effect. Got tested in 2014 using the Abbott Architect (CMIA), was negative. After that I came to know about HIV Group O that is common in Europe. Wanted to know if the tests in India do pick up European infection. Are all the 4th Gen HIV tests universal, i.e., is it same in every country? do they use the same reagents? In the span of 2 years from 2014 to now, I have had many tests on the Abbott Architect, Vidas Duo Ultra, BioRad GS Ultra and Vitros ECI. Do I need an RT RNA PCR or are my tests conclusive? Thanks
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Anonymous
Hi there and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline. My name is Colin and I am happy to answer your questions today.

I understand you have questions about the accuracy of HIV tests in different parts of the world as well as about the accuracy of specific tests you've taken yourself. I hope the information I can provide can put your mind at ease.

In a word I can tell you that essentially yes, the tests are globalized and universal. With the exception of some specific RNA NAAT tests which look for specific groups or subtypes, all commonly administered combo tests look for HIV-1 and -2 and all major subtypes. Also, I'm not sure where you came across the information that Subtype O is common in Europe, but it is in fact rare everywhere. This subtype is originally from West Africa and while there has been some spillover into other populations, in Europe like in other areas, HIV-1 subtype M is by far the most common. Even then, most modern tests will be sensitive to Group M and O.

Given the fact that you have had numerous tests over the course of 2 years all of which have come back negative, I would say that it is safe to consider them conclusive and further testing for the initial exposure isn't necessary.

I hope the information I've been able to provide has been helpful to you. Please feel free to post again if you'd like any more information or clarification.

All the best

Colin

AIDS Vancouver Helpline
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