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.
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