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J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2010 Apr 1;53(4):496-9.

Significantly diminished long-term specificity of the BED capture enzyme immunoassay among patients with HIV-1 with very low CD4 counts and those on antiretroviral therapy.

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School of Public Health, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.



To estimate the proportion who test as recent infections by the BED capture enzyme immunoassay (BED) among patients about to commence, and those receiving, antiretroviral therapy.


Cryopreserved plasma samples from HIV patients on the national antiretroviral treatment (ART) rollout program at Tygerberg Hospital HIV clinic, South Africa, were tested using the BED assay.


Five hundred five patients qualifying for ART were included in this study.


All plasma samples from each patient were tested by BED. Basic demographic data, HIV-1 viral load, and CD4 count results were obtained from the laboratory database.


The proportion presenting as false recently infected is reported.


Among patients, with presumed long-term HIV-1 infections, about to commence ART, 11.2% [95% confidence interval (CI): 8.3 to 14.5%] tested recent by BED. The proportion was higher among patients with CD4 counts < 50 cells per microliter [odds ratio 2.63, 95% CI: 1.39 to 5.00] and log10 HIV-1 viral load less than 4 [odds ratio 3.03, 95% CI: 1.05 to 9.09]. Proportions testing false recent increased from 11.2% before ART to 17%, 25%, 38%, and 56% at 0.5, 1, 1.5, and 2 years, respectively, after ART initiation.


If the BED method is to be used for the accurate estimation of HIV incidence from cross-sectional surveys, it will be essential, before other statistical adjustment methods, to identify, at least, all cases who are on ART and all those with CD4 counts < 50 cells per microliter. The more general remaining problem is the unequivocal identification of all persons with long-term HIV infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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