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Can a blood culture identify hiv?
Jul 18, 2003

I recently had to undergo an hiv test in a foreign country. The test result revealed that I was positive.The hospital asked me for a second blood sample saying they wished to culture it. However they did not tell me the result of the culture even after 14 days. They called me again and said I should take a third blood test because the second sample had become "old". The third blood test showed a positive as well.I would like to know if doing a blood culture would eliminate all doubts as to the existence of hiv in a person.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

Antibody tests are more sensitive and accurate then blood culture for HIV infection. You can culture HIV out of the blood, but it requires a certain expertise and equipment to do it properly. Even in the best hands not all infected people will have culturable virus, even though the have antibodies and or a positive HIV viral load.



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