|Clarify Dna testing vs viral load
Nov 2, 1998
My understanding is that there is a type of hiv testing which can detect the antibodies that fight the virus anywhere from 3-4 weeks on up, this is called dna testing. It is not federally approved so I'm assuming the public doesn't accept it as accurate as the other test (viral load), which is the typical 6 month window we all hear about. Could you give me some clarity on this subject so when I get tested I am better prepared. You recommended in a previous question to get tested at 4 months, even though you tell others 6 months, why the variances in testing times? Thank you.
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
DNA testing does not look for antibodies to HIV, rather it detects the actual HIV virus that has gotten inside blood cells. This test is called HIV DNA PCR. It is as good as viral load (which measures HIV RNA in the plasma) in detecting early HIV infection. Standard screening antibody tests (ELISA, western blot) may not be positive in the first several weeks after infection. The standard algorithm is to obtain HIV antibody tests at 0,1,3, and 6 months after the exposure. I have changed some of the times I have suggested in the past based on the individuals presentation and timing and number of tests performed. It is not the public's lack of acceptance of these viral load tests for HIV diagnosis, it is the requirement of the FDA that companies do the studies to demonstrate how good these tests would be. That requires time, interest and money of the company's part that make those kits.
Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS
This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.
Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither TheBody.com nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.