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Second Lab Results
Jul 21, 2009

Hi Dr. Joe. I'm here again writing you about the resuts of my tests. I took the DNA by PCR test and HIV-1 Abs test on the 36th day after exposure and on the 57th day after exposure, both negative each time, and I'm not in any med (except for Zolpidem for imsomnia), never tested positive. I know some people might have undetected vl and still have the infection. My question is: 1) For how long should I keep repeating these tests? When can somebody say he/she is HIV neg? 2) I've done these tests both times with LabCorp. Is this a reliable lab or would you recomend another one. (They dont perform Elisa tests anymore)

Thank you Dr. Joe

Response from Dr. McGowan

Generally we would not use the PCR test for diagnosis unless a person had symptoms of an acute HIV infection. There may be false poitive tests (low level "detectable" virus without an infection). After an exposure the HIV antibody test should be repeated at 1, 3 and 6 months after exposure.

It would notv be common for an HIV pCR to be undetectable during an acute infection. Even elite controllers would have an initial spike in viral load and then settle into a low or undetectable level. I would not worry about a false negative in that test.

Joe



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