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HIV-1 DNA by PCR test and HIV-1 Abs test
Jun 30, 2009

Hi, I took the tests above on the 36th day after exposure. Both tests came negative, (I'm not in any med, never tested positive)However, I'm wondering how accurate these results are? Should I repeat the tests, when? What was the posibility of getting an false negative? For how long should I continue repeating these tests? Do you suggest any other test? Thank you

Response from Dr. McGowan

Shortly after an exposure the HIV ab test may not have time to turn positive. Usually the earliest would be by 2 weeks and most will be positive by 6 weeks. We repeat the testing for 3 months to be sure to catch all positives.

The HIV PCR test should be positive by day 36, usually at a high titer. We generally would not run this test unless a person had symtoms of seroconversion (fever, swollen glands, rash, sores in the mouth, etc). In that circumstance it should be postive and would be highly unlikely to be "false negative" The one caveat would be if you took post-exposure prophylaxis for 4 weeks which might delay the virus growth in the blood and make the PCR low/negative.

Best,

Joe



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