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DNA PCR effective for how long?
Sep 4, 2007

Dear Dr Conway- I've read that toward late stage HIV disease, antibody tests become less effective. Is the DNA PCR the most useful test at that point? Also, does the average DNA PCR test look for all subtypes of HIV1, or does it have certain limitations like the ELISA?

Thank you!

Response from Dr. Conway

The DNA PCR kit is extremely sensitive and will detect infected cells at all stages of infection, including during advanced AIDS. I detects all subtypes of HIV. There are certain individual strains that might not be detected due to genetic variation, but these are extremely rare. In such cases, you would also see other signs of HIV infection, such as a lower CD4 count or reversed CD4/CD8 ratio as a clue that infection is indeed present.

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