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Scared Police Officer
Dec 21, 2007

I was recently(20 days ago) stuck with a hyperdermic needle during a drug bust.. I refused the immediate hiv treatment due to the harsh side effects that come with it.. Would a Proviral RNA Hiv test at 20days out be conclusive either way..I know they say wait 28days, but im incredibly anxious and nervous. I dont feel i could wait 3 months without losing my mind

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Scared Police Officer,

It seems you are a bit confused about HIV-screening tests. First off there is no such thing as a proviral RNA HIV test. HIV RNA PCR tests are quantitative assays that measure HIV plasma viral load. They are not recommended for routine HIV screening. There is a proviral DNA PCR HIV test. This is a qualitative test used to detect cell-associated proviral DNA. It is not FDA approved, nor is it considered sufficiently accurate for HIV diagnosis without confirmation. (However, it can be helpful to sort out disputed or indeterminate serological tests.) For your potential exposure the recommended screening test would be an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark. I realize you are anxious and that three months is a long time to wait; however, this is the recommended and most reliable way to ascertain your HIV serostatus following a potential exposure. You can learn more about HIV-screening tests by reviewing the information in the chapter "HIV Testing Basics" that can be easily accessed under the heading "Quick Links" on The Body's homepage.

Good luck!

Dr. Bob



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