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Please Help! Testing info
May 15, 2002

Dear Dr. Dieterich I was hoping you might be able to help with testing info for HBV. I had an incident with a person of unknown HepB status 9 days ago. I am very upset about this and would like to know as soon as possible whether or not I have contracted it so I can deal with it quicker. I understand that both DNA & RNA PCR tests show positive before the standard HBV antigen/antibody panel. At what point could I take a PCR test to show an accurate result? Which would be the best one? My doctor once told me in the past that PCR are not very useful so he wouldn't approve such a test. As a patient what else can I do so I can get the test, especially given that I would be willing to pay for it as insurance probably wouldn't? What is your standard testing algorithm for people who have a sexual contact w/someone of unknown status? Thank you so much for your help!!!

Response from Dr. Dieterich

First thing you should do is get vaccinated for HBV now! It might help. The HBV DNA by PCR would not likely be elevated until at least 3 weeks or so after infection. The chances of infection are relatively low. You should also get tested for HIV either by PCR at 4 weeks or at 12 weeks by antibody testing. DTD



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