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HIV PCR results

Mar 17, 2003

Hi, I had an HIV-PCR test run one month after possible exposure and then another HIV-PCR one run one week short of three months. Both were negative. Should I be tested again? Thanks, Worried Senseless

Response from Dr. Frascino


I should have seen that one coming. OK, here's your simplified answer. The PCR part is the same - polymerase chain reaction. DNA is didioxyribonucleic acid - another type of genetic building block. HIV-PCR-DNA is therefore a laboratory test that identifies and quantifies HIV-specific DNA's.

HIV is an RNA virus, but it has an enzyme called "reverse transcriptase," which allows it to transcribe its genetic information in "reverse" order, i.e. RNA to DNA. So you can measure HIV specific RNA or DNA with PCR technology. OK? Sounds a bit like alphabet soup, doesn't it?

Now, aren't you sorry you asked?

Dr. Bob

thank you

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