The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol
Ask the Experts About

Safe Sex and HIV PreventionSafe Sex and HIV Prevention
Rollover images to visit our other forums!
Recent AnswersAsk a Question
  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

question about pcr and antibody testing

Sep 21, 2010

Hi dr bob, if the antibody tests used today are so good and taken beyond 6months gives you your status then what purpose does the PCR test have? Is there ever a reason to take a pcr test beyond 6 months when an antibody can be used at that point. The reason I ask is I see tons of posts of people taking pcr tests beyond 6 months.

Last side question, does having hiv result in slower heal times or leaving for longer scars on the body, or is that irrelavent.

Hope 20 bucks is enough for a donation, its all I got.

Response from Dr. Frascino


HIV-antibody tests taken beyond the window period remain the gold standard for HIV diagnosis. The HIV-antibody test is a purely a diagnostic test.

Quantitative HIV plasma RNA PCR tests are used primarily to monitor HIV disease progression. It's a measure of viral replication and therefore is an excellent tool for monitoring how well antiretroviral therapy is working.

Qualitative HIV PCR DNA is not FDA approved for HIV-diagnostic testing; however, it can be very helpful in sorting out unclear or indeterminate HIV-antibody test results.

All PCR tests run the risk of false positives and are much more costly than diagnostic HIV-antibody tests.

You can learn much more about HIV-diagnostic versus HIV-monitoring tests in the archives and elsewhere on this site. See "HIV Testing 101" under the heading "The Basics" on The Body's homepage.

Regarding your "last side question," having HIV does not alter healing or scaring.

Thanks for your support of The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (

Dr. Bob

Please respond, second request
HIV tests are telling the real situation ?????

  • Email Email
  • Glossary Glossary

 Get Email Notifications When This Forum Updates or Subscribe With RSS



This forum is designed for educational purposes only, and experts are not rendering medical, mental health, legal or other professional advice or services. If you have or suspect you may have a medical, mental health, legal or other problem that requires advice, consult your own caregiver, attorney or other qualified professional.

Experts appearing on this page are independent and are solely responsible for editing and fact-checking their material. Neither nor any advertiser is the publisher or speaker of posted visitors' questions or the experts' material.

Review our complete terms of use and copyright notice.

Powered by ExpertViewpoint