|CDC Won't Answer these Questions!
Sep 11, 1998
Dear Dr. Holodniy, There is so much information available about the "correct" use of viral load tests out there...and so much of it is contradictory!! Dr. Anthony Fauci stated at Geneva that early detection and treatment (pre-seroconversion) of HIV infection might enable one to salvage enough of the immune system to effecetively win a chronic fight with the virus. Therefore it would seem that bDNA and PCR tests should be encouraged for high risk groups (after all, these tests are used for diagnostic purposes with newborns). Yet the CDC still refuses to endorse these tests as valid screening devices or even to discuss their use at all on their national hotline! So I'm hoping you can answer my questions. Assuming that the lab technicians are competent and the tests are performed correctly: 1) When are bDNA and QHIV - 1 DNA by PCR tests as accurate as a 6 month antibody test? 2) Is there a closing of the window on these tests (ie. will these tests show positive for a while then return to negative at a certain point after infection?) 3) Is one viral load or PCR test a better diagnostic tool than another during the pre-seroconversion stage? 4) What is a fair price to have a viral load test? Thank you for your help.
| Response from Dr. Holodniy
Great questions, all of them. Taking 1 and 2 together, viral load and cellular DNA PCR tests will be positive within several days to a couple of weeks after infection. Antibody tests will lag behind by 4-12 weeks. At 6 months after infection, all 3 tests will be positive. DNA PCR and Plasma viral load (using either bDNA or PCR)will be positive throughout infection. Question 3. From my experience and the limited published data, I don't think that one viral load test is better than another during preseroconversion. they are measuring the same thing. Question 4. Street price for viral load testing varies around the country. Range is about $150-250/test. MH
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.