Alexander H Russell,
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Robert A. Da Prato asked: "I assume that the 99+% accuracy of ELISA tests at detection of HIV indicates both very high specificity and very high sensitivity for this test. I also assume that there is published evidence supporting this claim, which has been touted for at least 10 years. Can anyone reference the original paper(s)?"
In science never "assume" anything. The ELISA tests are non-specific to 'HIV' because the antibodies detected cross-react with over 70 conditions. Emeritus Prof. Gordon Stuart, Public Health, Glasgow UK stated: "At present there is no scientific basis for using these tests to prove HIV infection." Chief UK virologist Philip Mortimer stated: "It may be impossible to relate an antibody response specifically to HIV infection."
Even the manufacturers cautiously state in the literature enclosed with the test kit:
"At present there is no recognized standard for establishing the presence and absence of HIV-1 antibody in human blood. Therefore sensitivity was computed based on the clinical diagnosis of AIDS and specificity based on random donors"1
"Do not use this kit as the sole basis of diagnosing HIV-1 infection"2
"The Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor test is not intended to be used as a screening test for HIV or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV infection"3
1. Abbott Laboratories, Diagnostic Division, 66-8805/R5; January, 1997
2. HIV-1 Western Blot Kit, Epitope, Inc., Organon Teknika Corporation PN201-3039 Revision #8
3. Roche Diagnostic Systems, Inc., Amplicor HIV-1 Monitor Test Kit. US:83088. June 1996)(13-06-83088-001
(Also see: Abbott Test Halted After Inaccurate HIV Results, Chicago Tribune (CT) - FRIDAY, April 5, 1996 Edition: BUSINESS Page: 1 Word Count: 402).
In 'Tests for HIV are Highly Inaccurate', Dr. Roberto Giraldo wrote:
"Some of the conditions that cause false positives on the so-called 'AIDS test' are: past or present infection with a variety of bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi including tuberculosis, malaria, leishmaniasis, influenza, the common cold, leprosy and a history of sexually transmitted diseases; the presence of polyspecific antibodies, hypergammaglobulinemias, the presence of auto-antibodies against a variety of cells and tissues, vaccinations, and the administration of gamma globulins or immunoglobulins; the presence of auto-immune diseases like erythematous systemic lupus, sclerodermia, dermatomyositis and rheumatoid arthritis; the existence of pregnancy and multiparity; a history of rectal insemination; addiction to recreational drugs; several kidney diseases, renal failure and hemodialysis; a history of organ transplantation; presence of a variety of tumors and cancer chemotherapy; many liver diseases including alcoholic liver disease; hemophilia, blood transfusions and the administration of coagulation factor; and even the simple condition of aging, to mention a few of them.
It is interesting to note that all of these conditions that cause the 'HIV tests' to react positive in the absence of HIV, are conditions which are present with varied distribution and concentration in all of the conventionally recognized AIDS risk groups in the developed countries, as well as in the vast majority of inhabitants of the underdeveloped world. This means that in all probability many drug users [including mothers], certain gay males, and some haemophiliacs in the developed countries, as well as the vast majority of inhabitants in most countries of Africa, Asia, South America and the Caribbean, who have positive reactions to the tests for HIV, may very well do so due to conditions other than being infected with HIV…There is no justification for the fact that both patients and the general public have had all of the preceding facts withheld from them. Without the merits and demerits of the tests for HIV, people cannot make informed decisions."
(Being 'HIV-positive' does not mean that a person is infected with 'HIV'; Tests for HIV are Highly Inaccurate, Dr. Roberto Giraldo).
Competing interests: None declared