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DNA testing

Jun 11, 1997

I have been told that the DNA testing is much better than the Elisa one and can detect the virus immediately without having to live in the terror for 6 months. Is this true?

Response from Mr. Sowadsky

Hi. Thank you for your question.

DNA tests (better known as PCR tests) do not detect HIV infection immediately, nor are they better than antibody tests (ELISA/Western Blot etc.) for routine screening purposes. Each of these tests have their own specific uses. Antibody tests are best used for routine screening in adults. PCR tests are only for circumstances when antibody tests cannot be used. They are used primarily for:

Research applications, where the test can be repeated multiple times to rule out inaccuracies. Testing in newborns less than 18 months of age where antibody tests are not reliable. Testing in persons with other diseases of the immune system where antibody tests may not be reliable. Other UNUSUAL circumstances.

For more information about PCR tests, see the posts, "PCR Conclusive after 1 month", "PCR Testing", and "How reliable are the PCR and the bDNA tests".

If you have any further questions, please feel free to call the Centers for Disease Control at 1.800.232.4636 (Nationwide).

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