HIV CMIA Test Accuracy
Keywords: HIV CMIA, HIV CMIA Window Period, HIV CMIA Method, HIV CMIA Results, HIV CMIA Accuracy
To be able to understand the answer to this question, we first have to get some basics right.
The HIV CMIA test, HIV ELISA test, HIV ECLIA test are all different methods to detect HIV antibodies and/or antigens in the patient’s blood.
I previously wrote an article on the HIV ELISA and ECLIA test.
Let me rehash some points:
To know if a person is infected with HIV or not, we look for HIV antigens or antibodies in the patient’s blood.
Antigens are a part of the protein shell of the virus. This is found floating in the patient’s blood very soon after infection.
Antibodies are produced by the patient’s immune system in response to the HIV infection. It might take some time for the patient to produce enough antibodies to be detectable by tests. This is called the window period.
Antigens and antibodies are microscopic particles. We cannot see them with the naked eye or even with a light microscope.
So scientists have developed very smart ways to let us know if there are antigens and antibodies present or not.
One method is called ELISA which is short for Enzyme-Linked Immuno-Sorbant Assay.
This is a very elegant test. Basically there is a trap for the antibodies and antigen. If these are present, they get stuck in the trap. This then triggers off a reaction that causes the solution to change colour. The colour change is indication of a positive test.
Another method is called the ECLIA which is short for Electro-Chemiluminescence Immunoassay. In the same way, the system traps antigens and/or antibodies. The difference is instead of triggering off a chemical colour reaction, it lets off light which is captured by a sensor. So basically if it lights up, it means the test is positive.
The HIV CMIA test which is short for Chemiluminescence Microparticle Immunoassay. It is very similar to the ECLIA test because it also uses light to indicate the presence of antibodies and/or antigens.
All the above is obviously a massive over-simplification of a rather complex topic. For those interested in more detailed information, there is a great resource in a learning guide developed by Abbott. Click this link to see it: learning_immunoassay
Different companies making different machines have their own patented differences in these tests so they are not all identical. However, practically speaking, these tests in themselves are exceedingly accurate. The big diagnostic companies that develop these tests have validated their accuracies very diligently.
You would have realised by now that these are all just different detection techniques. They are but one piece of the puzzle of HIV test accuracy.
These are basically tools at the doctor’s disposal. But if the tool is used wrongly, it is useless.
For the test to be accurate, we must do the right test at the right time. Doctors need to know at what point in time to use which tool to detect what.
So in summary, the HIV CMIA test is very accurate in detecting HIV antibodies and HIV antigens. There is no reason to doubt their accuracy.
However, to know if the patient is infected with HIV or not, the doctor has to know when to order the CMIA and decide if the CMIA will test for antibodies or antigens or both.
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