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Case 1 Answer

Gerry calls your office for an appointment. He wants to talk directly with you. In your conversation with Gerry he states that he has been taking intravenous heroin for the past 3 months and is scared that he is addicted. He asked for a phone number for a rehabilitation clinic. Part of what scared him was that last month he was so desperate for a dose of heroin that he went to a party. At the party several people were sharing needles to get their fix. The needle he used was used by several other people at the party. Yesterday he heard a news story about a person who got AIDS from a shared needle. He got scared he might have been infected that party. You encourage him to make an appointment for some tests and suggest a clinic he could call and a support group phone number to call.

Which of the following is the most appropriate screening test to determine if Gerry is infected with HIV?

    1. Western Blot for HIV - confirmation test; not screening test
    2. ELISA for HIV- need two positive tests; RT-PCR for HIV RNA is replacing the ELISA test and the Western blot. RT-PCR can be used to screen and confirm that a patient is HIV infected*
    3. CD4 T-cell counts - used to assess progression of the HIV infection; is not specific for HIV infection
    4. CD8 T-cell counts- used to assess progression of the HIV infection; is not specific for HIV infection
    5. Total lymphocyte count- Helps to assess extent of immunosuppression; is not specific for HIV infection

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Site Last Revised 5/16/14
Neal Chamberlain, PhD. A. T. Still University of Health Sciences/Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Take Care and Think Microbiologically!


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