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When to use PCR DNA testing?

Feb 8, 1999

According to some doctors, the PCR DNA test is the best option of testing when a person has a problem with their immune system making the development of antibodies to HIV delayed or impossible. My question to you would be how would a person know if they had a problem with their own immune system to warrant such testing? My other question is this, if a person cannot develop antibodies to HIV does that mean that the length of time between infection and death would occur quickly? Please tell me why some people are told to test using this method. Thanks.

Response from Dr. Holodniy

It would be unlikely you would know unless you had been diagnosed with something like cancer, or had been developing recurrent infections which prompted a workup and revealed some underlying deficiency. Without one arm of the immune system, people would progress faster than if they make antibodies. DNA PCR tests for presence of the virus, not antibodies the body makes against the virus. MH

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