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Testing and timing (or therapy and teleology)
Nov 7, 2002

Im planning to take a qualitative DNA PCR test, after a possibly unsafe sexual encounter (MSM, I was the top or insertive partner, entered my partner without a condom on briefly). Im a chronic depressive, with chronic anxiety thrown in for good measure (youve gotta love the roll of the cosmic dice). Being treated with meds (anti-depressants) and in therapy for the past four years; so I know the psychological issues involved here, please dont say, You should think about seeking counseling. The problem is: the last day I can take the test from a top-quality lab is day 25 after possible exposure, not day 28 (as the recommendations here seem to suggest). I DO plan to follow up with an ELISA at 3 and 6 months, so Im relying on PCR alone. My question is: for temporary peace of mind/sanity, can I treat day 25 and day 28 as pretty much equivalent in terms of the outcome of the test? (It seems from earlier responses that a couple of years back this day 28 standard was absent, and doctors said that the test would be positive, if infected, within a few days to a couple of weeks.) PLEASE answer. Thanks for a truly excellent site.

Response from Dr. Wohl


If your asking whether it will make a difference if an HIV RNA PCR test is performed to evaluate acute HIV infection on day 25 versus day 28 after an exposure, then the answer is no, it will not make a difference. Thanks - DW

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