JOSEPH A. STANKAITIS, M.D., M.P.H.; JOHN P. BIGOS, M.D., M.P.H.
STANKAITIS JA, BIGOS JP. Testing for Human Immunodeficiency Virus. Ann Intern Med. 1986;105:967. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-105-6-967_2
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1986;105(6):967.
To the editor: Dr. Goedert's editorial on the testing for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) (1) admirably points out the importance of disease prevalence for screening programs. He notes that in low-prevalence groups, the positive predictive value for the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) may be as low as 2% for specimens from donors with no risk factors for HIV. This 2% means that out of 100 samples that test positive from this group, only 2 will be truly positive. Thus, it makes greater sense to target screening to high-risk or high-prevalence groups, rather than to general populations.
One might argue that
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