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ELISA and DNA PCR - How conclusive?
Oct 9, 2009

I had a rash on June 17th and i tested both ELISA and Qualitative DNA PCR on Aug 17th (8 weeks after the rash). Both came out negative. My HIV counselor told me thats very conclusive and I dont need any further testing. But in different blogs I am seeing that it is a possibility that both tests could be negative (Negative PCR after ACute infection and Negative ELISA before seroconversion)but there is a chance of being positive. Do I need to test in 6 months? Besides qualitative DNA PCR test says that 'it is not approved by FDA'. Do I need to be concerned about the quality of the PCR test?

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The HIV DNA PCR is not approved by the FDA for routine HIV screening (due to the rate of false positives, other technical considerations and cost). The best test for HIV screening remains an FDA-approved HIV-antibody test taken outside the window period (defined as the first three months after an exposure). That said, the chance that a DNA PCR and an ELISA taken eight weeks after a potential exposure would both be false negatives is extremely remote at best.

Dr. Bob



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