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HIV NAT, Antigen Testing
Dec 8, 2002

Doctor,

I have heard that NAT testing and Antigen testing is the most accurate testing yet to test for HIV infection before antibodies are even formed and these tests can detect HIV within 2 weeks after an exposure. If you were tested with these 2 tests at 70 days and also the standard HIV test after a possible exposure, and all were negative, is it safe to say that the NAT or Antigen test would have detected any traces of the virus since they are used to detect the virus sooner.

Thank You for answering this.

Response from Mr. Kull

Antibody assays (ELISA/EIA, Western Blot) are the most reliable methods for screening for HIV infection. Most people will develop a detectable level of antibodies within the first month of infection, but tests are not considered accurate until three months have elapsed.

Other testing methods should only be used if your exposure was of significant risk (unprotected anal or vaginal sex with an HIV infected partner) and/or to diagnose acute infection (as assessed by a medical professional). See PCR or ELISA.

It is highly unlikely that you would be infected if all of these tests came back negative at 70 days.

RMK



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