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Specialized tests?
Apr 17, 2001

Hi Dr. Little... you mentioned "specialized tests" in a recent post regarding symptoms developing shortly after exposure. What tests would those be. Are they different from antibody tests?

Thank you.

Response from Dr. Little

These are generally viral detection tests. The traditional tests detect antibody to HIV. This is the body's immune response to HIV and may take 4-6 weeks to develop. Now that we have better viral detection assays, it is generally possible to actually detect the virus, even before an HIV antibody test has become positive. These tests are widely available, but quite expensive. They are not widely used as a screening tool, but are used by some programs with a special interest in primary (or recent) HIV infection. If you contact your local community based organizations or public health department, they may be able to direct you to facilities in your area with this interest.

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