|Antibody testing vs other tests-- which is the best?
Jun 2, 2001
Please discuss for my mental state and peace of mind the HIV/RNA test.Is it more benefical diagnostically than the antibody test? I am getting conflicting information and I VALUE your opinion- Is the HIV/RNA good in conjunction with the antibody test or valuable alone?????
Response from Dr. Dezube
"thebody.com" has has this all nicely sorted out for you. Click on "AIDS Basics" on their home page, and then click on HIV testing. My favorite document on that site is "Frequently asked questions: Testing for HIV" by the Centers for Disease Control. Here's the link http://www.thebody.com/cdc/faq/testingFAQ.html#three
The short answer to your question is that for diagnostic purposes, the antibody test is the standard. A positive antibody test is confirmed with a Western Blot. Usually most people will develop antibodies within 3 months of exposure; occasionally it takes up to 6 months. The PCR test is used to diagnose very early HIV infection since it becomes positive shortly after exposure.
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