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August 1996

Persistent Lack of Detectable HIV-1 Antibody in a Person With HIV Infection—Utah, 1995

Arch Dermatol. 1996;132(8):873-874. doi:10.1001/archderm.1996.03890320017002

INFECTION WITH human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is diagnosed routinely by the enzyme immunoassay (EIA) for HIV-1 antibody; a nonreactive blood sample is designated as negative without further testing. However, one limitation of this screening algorithm is that a blood sample may be obtained from a patient with recent HIV infection before detectable HIV antibody is present ("window period"). This report describes a patient with confirmed HIV infection in whom EIAs for HIV antibody (HIV-ElAs) were persistently negative beyond the expected "window period."*

Case Investigation.  In October 1995, the Utah Department of Health referred to CDC blood samples obtained from a man who had had onset of persistent fatigue and malaise during January 1995. During January-June 1995, he had sought medical care at several clinics. When he was admitted to a hospital in June because of respiratory illness and recent weight loss of 27 lbs, HIV-EIA was negative. In August, he

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