What is an ELISA HIV Test?

ELISA is an acronym for enzyme-linked immunosorbant assay. The ELISA HIV test is just one of the types of ELISA tests widely used in the scientific community. The ELISA HIV test was one of the original diagnostic tools used for HIV and AIDS. An ELISA test is a test used to determine if there are antibodies or antigens in the body.
When conducting an ELISA HIV test, a special slide is prepared that contains HIV antigens. Serum from the person receiving the test is applied to the slide. If the person is HIV positive, their body fluids will contain antibodies for the illness. These antibodies will bind to the antigens.
After this process, the slide is washed in a solution that removes everything except the antigen and anything that is bound to the antigen. Then an enzyme is applied to the slide, which creates a chemical reaction. The chemical reaction will cause the sample to change colors if there are antibodies attached to the antigen. Therefore, a change in the color of the slide indicates a positive ELISA HIV test.
The ELISA is widely used for other types of diagnostics as well. The fact that the procedure can test not only for antibodies but antigens as well makes it a versatile tool for scientists. Another use for the ELISA test is in the diagnosis of the West Nile Virus.
ELISA tests are not without controversy. While some types of testing are definitive, ELISA tests that are used for pre-employment drug screenings are an example of the controversy that surround ELISA. It is important that before testing is performed, the laboratory has established numbers for what they consider a positive test and what they consider a negative test. This helps reduce the number of false positives.
Even with its shortcomings, the ELISA test is a valuable diagnostic tool. It is effective and reliable enough that it is routinely used for quick and accurate results when testing for blood borne illness, food allergies and the presence of drugs in the system. The alternatives to ELISA are often more complicated and expensive and it takes longer to receive accurate results. For these reasons, ELISA testing is widely used and accepted in the medical community.