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What is PCR ? - Hep B+C ?
Mar 16, 2001

A) What is PCR test ? B) I had a blood test for Hep.B+C , six weeks after possible high risk oral encounter. Do you think the result will be conclusive or should I repeat it? If the results come now negative, should I get vaccinated for A+B now, or wait another 6 months?

Thank you in advance for your precious time and assistance.

Response from Dr. Rodriguez-Torres

1.PCR is a laboratory method to detect live virus in your blood. It stands for reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR).This method involves extracting RNA (genetic material) from the blood serum.As you can see it is a sophisticated procedure and can be done only at some laboratories.It is reported as negative or positive and is very sensitive . It also can report a number of viral particles per cc of blood ,as low as, 100 copies. Recently the test was standarized and is now reported as international units. 2. Hepatitis C antibody seroconversion can occur between 3 and up to 12 months after infection.You should have tests after 3 months.HCV PCR will be positive earlier after infection. Do not wait for vaccine for hepatitis B unless you are a 100% you will not be exposed to the virus in the next 6 months.Hepatitis A is not sexually trasmitted but via oral route ,you should have vaccine if you are traveling to an endemic zone (where disease is more frequent like ASIA OR TROPICS).



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