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HCV does NOT affect PCR
Nov 23, 2001

Dr. Dieterich, You said HCV might affect HIV antibody test and suggested that PCR for both can make sure the status. However, I heard that PCR for HIV is just accurate during the ARS period. Does this apply to HCV as well or RNA PCR test for HCV is accurate at ALL time? Is the RNA PCR or DNA PCR that should be used for HCV after 6 month of exposure? Please correct me if I am wrong.

Response from Dr. Dieterich

HCV is an RNA virus so RNA PCR is the way to make the diagnosis. It appears that HCV RNA is detectable about 2 weeks after infection and stays that way for life unless it is cleared by the patient. It finds a level that is much much higher than that of HIV usually and is probably then more reliable, although it is not a good prognostic marker like HIV RNA is. DTD



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