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re; last hope ---- please look
Jan 5, 2010

Dr Bob,

Thank you so much for your answer. Donation of $100 has been made to your great organization. One last thing if you don't mind. 1. When someone had a real exposure and real symptoms and or signs pointing towards hiv is the antibody test that reliable that you would rely on that alone? 2. Would you or have you ever recommended pcr or cd4 cd8 test after a negative antibody test outside of the window period? 3.Is it really no way no how?

Thank you and God Bless

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello,

Even if someone has a "real exposure" and experiences "real symptoms and/or signs pointing toward HIV," if they test HIV-antibody negative outside the window period without extenuating circumstances, they are HIV negative. A negative HIV antibody test properly conducted outside the window period trumps "symptoms" each and every time.

CD4 and CD8 T-cell subset tests are not diagnostic tests for HIV. Changes in CD4 cell counts are not specific for HIV disease. They can change as a result of other diseases as well. They are, of course, very useful in monitoring the clinical course of a person confirmed to be HIV infected.

PCR testing is not generally recommended for routine HIV screening, due to the rate of false positives, other technical considerations and cost. I have used PCR tests diagnostically only when indicated: for instance, in some folks with impaired ability to make specific immunoglobulins (agammaglobulinemia, common variable immunodeficiency, etc., or to diagnose acute retroviral syndrome within the window period, etc.). You can read much more about HIV diagnostic and HIV monitoring tests in the archives of this forum.

Thank you for your donation to The Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation. It's warmly appreciated.

The bottom line is that an appropriately conducted HIV-antibody test can indeed give a "no way, no how" result!

Be well. Stop worrying.

Dr. Bob



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