The most widely available way of identifying HIV-infected individuals is the detection of HIV antibodies in serum or plasma samples. The table below shows the two main methods of testing for HIV antibodies. Serological tests are available that test for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. The technical details of these tests are beyond the scope of this manual. HIV diagnostic tests are extremely reliable, and are highly sensitive and specific. The reliability of test results depends on proper sample collection and testing. The staff taking the sample must label the specimen bottle and the form accurately. High quality performance of tests by laboratory staff is crucial.
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