|Recent PCR post
Aug 25, 2006
In your recent post regarding the PCR testing, you mention that false negatives and false positives occur. If you are testing within the "window period" of 3-4 weeks, are false negatives as prevalent as false positives. I have read that false positives can occur up to like 5% of the time. If false negatives are occurring with the same frequency, this test seems to be of very little value at all.
Response from Dr. Daar
Thank you for your post. The percentage of patients that are infected as a result of a given exposure and then PCR negative after 3-4 weeks is not precisely known. Consequently, one can not assume that a negative test would allow them to not do further antibody testing. Therefore, I completely agree with your comment that in someone who is not suspected of having symptomatic primary infection, where viral load is always very high, the use of this test after an exposure is of very little value and potentially anxiety provoking if there is a false positive.
Is it ever too late?
HCV RNA PCR
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