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HIV 1 RNA: diagnostic capabilities?
Jun 5, 2003


I wrote you a while ago. (May 14th?) You recommended that I get an HIV RNA PCR (viral load) test to determine my status, since I had been exposed only a matter of weeks ago. Well, I did. The Infectious Disease Specialist at the hospital I visited (not my regulr doc., I tried to find an 'expert') told me of the results over the phone--he said HIV wasn't my problem.

It was about 24 days post-exposure that the blood was drawn. Is that enough time?

Also, he seemed to ignore/disregard my symptoms of unplanned weight loss (5 weeks after exposure: almost 10 lbs now, no matter how much I shovel down my cake hole), diarrhea, fatigue/malaise, swollen lymph nodes, etc.

I suspect the test may have been indeterminate, and that he gave me his best guess--I didn't see it.

This may be the wrong forum, but I thought I'd ask you since you recommended that I ask for the test:

Should I trust that this guy knows what he's doing?

Is 24 days usually sufficient to show large amounts of VL?

Should I get a copy of the test and find a new doctor (in light of these symptoms)?

Thank you for any information you have on the reliability of HIV 1 RNA blood tests as a means of diagnosing acute HIV.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Sounds like your test was negative. Get a copy to prove it to yourself. At 24 days you would have virus detectable if you were infected, which it sounds like, you are not.


My report from the CDC concerning HIV neg with symptoms
Resistance Testing Results before starting treatment

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