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RNA Test Accuracy
Apr 14, 2011

Dr. Bob, I look forward to donating again to your cause and you answering my question. I had a low risk exposure, protected sex with a woman of unknow hiv status. My concerns are I am not sure if the condom stayed on or broke as she took care of everything and it was dark. My question is I had a RNA blood test 23 days after exposure and a rapid oral test 31 days after exposure and both came back negative. I am reading conflicting reports but the majority states that a RNA test is accurate after 11 days of exposure. Is this the case? Are these test I had done in the time frame completed be confirmation that I am HIV negative and should not be stressing? I look forward to your response and think that what you do is great! Thank you!

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

The gold standard for HIV diagnostic testing remains the HIV-antibody test taken outside the window period (three months in most situations). The FDA has approved only one RNA test for HIV-diagnostic purposes, the APTIMA HIV-1 RNA qualitative assay. And this test still requires a confirmatory antibody test if positive. Stay tuned to The Body. I plan to write a blog discussing the various HIV diagnostic tests and the possibility of changing our guidelines based on the sensitivity and specificity of the newer assays.

Dr. Bob



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