Low Sensitivity of ELISA Testing in Early HIV Infection

Richard G. Marlink, Jonathan S. Allan, Mary F. Mclane, M. Essex, Kenneth C. Anderson, Jerome E. Groopman

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To the Editor: During seroconversion to human immunodeficiency virus (HIV, or HTLV-III/LAV), we have noted a “window period” of low sensitivity with the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) as compared with confirmatory serologic assays. The following two cases illustrate the clinical relevance. A patient at high risk for exposure to HIV presented with mononucleosis-like symptoms and a roseola-type rash. Since acute HIV infection and subsequent seroconversion have been reported to present at times with these signs or symptoms,1,2 suspicions were high that the patient's symptoms were due to HIV infection. A previous serum sample was available, and serum samples were drawn.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages1
JournalNew England Journal of Medicine
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 11 1986
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Marlink, R. G., Allan, J. S., Mclane, M. F., Essex, M., Anderson, K. C., & Groopman, J. E. (1986). Low Sensitivity of ELISA Testing in Early HIV Infection. New England Journal of Medicine, 315(24). https://doi.org/10.1056/NEJM198612113152412