Sep 9, 1998
Hello, I find you answers to all these questions just great and educational too boot. Just a few questions regarding your recent answers to questions. You mention PCR DNA testing by "blood cells", isn't that the convential way to do a PCR DNA? Also you mention timing of test with significant importance......why? For example. When would a PCR DNA be positive, when would a RNA PCR be positive, and when will a Elisa be positive.. Also, it seems to me that there are a bunch of people who have the same symptoms yet test negative on all these tests.....whats your view on that.......other illness....or a new stronger HIV? Just wondering....Thanks.
Response from Dr. Holodniy
You are correct about DNA PCR. I want to be factually correct when I discuss PCR testing. DNA PCR testing detects HIV which has integrated into a person's DNA in their mononuclear cells. Thus, the test is performed on cells from the blood. RNA PCR detects HIV RNA which circulates as viral particles in cell free blood plasma. The viral RNA must first be converted to DNA in order for PCR to work. This step is part of the assay. The Chiron bDNA assay for viral load (HIV RNA) is not a PCR based test. After acute infection (from the limited cases that have been studied) we know that RNA and DNA PCR will be positive within a few days to a couple of weeks after infection. Some folks can have very rapid seroconversion and ELISA tests can be positive within 4 weeks. Most become positive within 4-12 weeks. You are correct in your observation about lots of seronegative people writing in because of symptoms they are having. I don't think this is a new strain of HIV. It may be another virus or disease entity we have yet to identify. MH
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