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How Do Different HIV Tests Compare? (Editor's Pick)
Jun 23, 2015

Nelson, Your posts are essential for us readers. I have a question for you; will an HIV Dna test reveal HIV if antibody and RNA doesn't? Is DNA more accurate?

Response from Mr. Vergel

Several different tests can be used to establish whether a person is in the early stages of HIV infection . PCR viral load is the most sensitive test for detecting HIV infection in seroconversion, though greater sensitivity may be achieved when used in conjunction with the proviral DNA test.

Several different tests can be used to establish whether a person is in the early stages of HIV infection . PCR viral load is the most sensitive test for detecting HIV infection in seroconversion, though greater sensitivity may be achieved when used in conjunction with the proviral DNA test.1,2

The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed by doing a routine blood draw. PCR amplifies genetic material (RNA) and looks for actual virus by using the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme to multiply HIV gene sequences in the blood sample so that they show up more easily. A chemical reaction marks the virus and these markers are then measured and used to calculate the amount of virus in the bloodstream. This test is very reliable for detecting HIV in someone recently exposed to virus and will be highly accurate within 48 to 72 hours. An ultra-sensitive version of the RT-PCR test can detect as few as 50 copies/ml.

A qualitative PCR test, known as the PCR-DNA test, looks for the presence of virus, but does not measure the amount found. This is a useful test for detecting infection in infants because it will detect virus before viral load is present, but it is a more expensive test.

The quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test is performed by doing a routine blood draw. PCR amplifies genetic material (RNA) and looks for actual virus by using the reverse transcriptase (RT) enzyme to multiply HIV gene sequences in the blood sample so that they show up more easily. A chemical reaction marks the virus and these markers are then measured and used to calculate the amount of virus in the bloodstream. This test is very reliable for detecting HIV in someone recently exposed to virus and will be highly accurate within 48 to 72 hours. An ultra-sensitive version of the RT-PCR test can detect as few as 50 copies/ml.

A qualitative PCR test, known as the PCR-DNA test, looks for the presence of virus, but does not measure the amount found. This is a useful test for detecting infection in infants because it will detect virus before viral load is present, but it is a more expensive test.

Source: AIDSMAP

Nelson


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