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High rate of false positives, cost, etc.

May 10, 2007

I don't understand why you don't recommend DNA PCR. If someone doesn't care about the cost and high rate of false positives then what's the problem. If someone understands that a positive result means nothing with this test then and is willing to pay, then this test seems like the best bet. I guess I kind of feel like I don't want to suffer for six months. Am I right?

Response from Dr. Frascino


Qualitative DNA PCR can be used to detect cell-associated proviral DNA, including HIV reservoirs in peripheral CD4 cells in patients responding to HAART, with a sensitivity of about 5 copies per 106 cells. However, without confirmation, this is not considered sufficiently accurate for HIV diagnosis. It is also not FDA approved. There are reasons to use the test, such as to sort out disputed or indeterminate serological tests; however, routine HIV screening is not one of them.

So, are you right? Nope. Not in my opinion. As for someone "'understanding' that a positive test means nothing," well try telling that to someone holding a lab slip result indicating a positive HIV DNA PCR. You can read the testimonials of folks to whom this has happened in the archives!!

My advice and recommendations remain unchanged. And don't forget your "window pain" can be avoided if you use latex condoms appropriately.

Dr. Bob

"the blood pool" workplace HIV exposure

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