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Notice to Readers: Publication of HIV Testing Algorithms: a Status Report

In the past 20 years, advances in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) diagnostics have resulted in approval by the Food and Drug Administration of 1) rapid tests for screening at the point of contact, 2) immunoassays that are more sensitive earlier during seroconversion, and 3) HIV-1 RNA assays for the diagnosis of acute infection and for confirmation of reactive antibody tests. As a result of these developments, CDC and the Association of Public Health Laboratories (APHL) convened a panel of HIV diagnostic subject matter experts to examine alternatives to the two-test HIV confirmatory algorithm that has been recommended for use in the United States since 1989 (1). That panel's efforts culminated in publication of HIV Testing Algorithms: a Status Report, which describes proposed alternative combinations of tests that might be used for diagnosing HIV infection.

The status report does not contain formal guidelines or recommendations but reviews the supporting evidence and limitations regarding the proposed algorithms, and the additional data needed to substantiate each of them. The report is intended to solicit performance data from laboratories to validate the proposed algorithms and feedback regarding operational parameters associated with the algorithms.

The report is available online at and Inquiries, comments, and descriptions of pertinent performance data should be directed to APHL via e-mail at


  1. CDC. Interpretation and use of the Western blot assay for serodiagnosis of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infections. MMWR 1989;38(No. SU-7).

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Date last reviewed: 8/6/2009


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