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PEP and Window Period
Jun 29, 1999

Dr. Holodniy

I had a recent medium-risk exposure to HIV. I started PEP (with AZT and 3DTC) within 16 hours. I am scheduled for a viral load test 28 days after the exposure (as well as a antibody test). I am anxious to know if:

1) The PEP is likely to result in a false negative result from the viral load, given that my PEP regime could drive the virus down to undetectable levels (without preventing infection). Or will the new ultra-sensitive tests still be able to detect any HIV if it is there?

2) What is the probability of a false positive with a viral load test? Would you recommend another test (p24?( etc etc)

John

Response from Dr. Holodniy

This is a new emerging field in HIV diagnostics, and as such there is not alot of data out there. There have been false positive viral load tests in uninfected people. We don't know what AZT/3TC will do to viral load. A DNA PCR might be the way to go for post PEP diagnosis, since it detects HIV in cells which would still probably be present during infection and in the absence of viral load. MH



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