A real interpreter’s guide to urine test interpretation
- by admin
When you’ve just gone through the process of getting tested for HIV, you may not be aware of the different ways to interpret a test result.
A new study published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that there’s a lot of confusion about what a urine test can tell you.
Researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University at Buffalo surveyed more than 3,000 people who had tested positive for HIV over the past four years.
The participants were asked questions about their HIV status, the type of test they’d received, and how often they used a different test for HIV testing.
“We found that people are less likely to agree that a test reading can tell them if they have HIV, and more likely to believe that it can’t,” said study author James J. Anderson, an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the university.
“And they tend to interpret these tests differently.
People who were tested more often were more likely than those who were test positive less often to agree with these statements.”
This study was the first to analyze the answers of people who were HIV-negative for the past six months.
Researchers took these people’s urine samples every two weeks for 12 weeks, and then compared the results of the people who’d been tested with those who hadn’t.
“Our study shows that people tend to make an interpretation of urine test results that is not true,” Anderson said.
“There are many things that people don’t know about HIV that may affect how they interpret test results.
These are just a few.”
He and his colleagues found that participants who had been tested less often and less frequently, and had been less likely than others to agree or disagree with the statement that urine tests can’t tell them whether they have the virus, were significantly more likely not to agree to the statement about how often a test could tell them.
This group was also more likely, on average, to interpret the results incorrectly.
“People who were more often tested were also more accurate in their interpretations,” Anderson explained.
“That means that their interpretations are likely to be less accurate, which means that they are less accurate in interpreting the test results.”
The study found that this group’s interpretation of test results was significantly more accurate than those of other groups.
“The fact that they were more accurate indicates that this is because they have more training,” Anderson told The Associated Press.
“When you’re tested more frequently and are more likely you to be tested and the testing environment is more similar, you need more training.”
In other words, you don’t need to be an expert to make accurate tests.
“This is the first study that looks at HIV test interpretation in the context of other factors that are likely influencing the results,” said Dr. James G. Lassiter, director of the HIV Institute at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine.
“It suggests that you have to have a training in the interpretive process, and it suggests that when you’re testing less frequently you should test less often.”
A few of the participants who were positive for the virus but had been test positive for a long time were also significantly more honest about how they felt about the test.
“They often said that the test had no function at all, it was just a marker,” he said. “
The researchers did not find any difference in the accuracy of the answers participants gave. “
They often said that the test had no function at all, it was just a marker,” he said.
The researchers did not find any difference in the accuracy of the answers participants gave.
“So we were really just asking questions about what we expected,” Anderson concluded.
“To me, that suggests that it’s more about what you’re comfortable with, rather than what you think the tests can tell us.”
Lasser agreed that it is possible to be honest and accurate when testing less often.
“You can test less frequently but you can still be truthful about your HIV status,” he explained.
The research suggests that a lot is being done to better understand the test’s interpretation, but more needs to be done.
“In general, it’s not something you’d want to go into on a whim,” Anderson noted.
“But we can’t ignore that this isn’t just a one-off.
It can happen.”
You can also reach the Associated Press at 989-438-2596, or follow the latest news in the study at jama.internalmed.org/content/early/2017/12/15/JAMA-1911.full.html#.
When you’ve just gone through the process of getting tested for HIV, you may not be aware of the different…
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