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Can HIV be tested after months of death?
Apr 18, 2012

Hi, my friend died months ago in the hospital, because of a tropical disease that was not diagnosed correctly and in time. After his death, two days later, labs came out stating he was actually HIV positive. At that time he was already dead and embalmed. His mom sued the hospital he was the first time in, because they treated and diagnosed him wrongly. He was transported to a tropical diseases hospital when he was almost in a coma, where he died in the end. I would like to know if there is any possibility to test his body for HIV, months after he died, if there is a suspicion that HIV was invented to cover up doctors mistakes. Can forensics do this? Thank you.

Response from Dr. Young

Hi and sorry for your loss.

Testing preserved tissues after death for the presence of HIV is possible, but rarely done. I'd suspect that if one looked at your friend's lab tests prior to his death, one might (or might not) find other clues that might be consistent with HIV.

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