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Differences between RNA and DNA testing
Mar 28, 2004

Can you please explain the difference between lab tests that detect HIV1RNA vs HIV1DNA? What do these tests tell us for treatment of the virus?

Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

HIV RNA is what viral load testing in blood plasma detects. That is the genetic material the virus itself contains. HIV DNA is what the RNA becomes when it gets inside CD4 cells and becomes integrated into the human DNA. HIV RNA (viral load) is what we use to monitor treatment. HIV DNA has not been used to monitor treatment.



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