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Results of PCR and HIV serology
Dec 13, 1996

Dr. Gallant Last week I took both a "Home Access-HIV Test" and PCR viral load test, 4 months after possibly being exposed to the HIV virus, to see if I am HIV infected. The home test came up Negative. My Doctor told me that I had no detectable viral load given the sensitivity of the PCR test. 1)I was afraid to ask my doctor, but did I take the correct PCR Test to diagnose possible HIV infection? Dr. said that it was extremely good news. 2) Should I bother to get tested again in February? What is your opinion? Keep up the good work! Happy Holidays!

Response from Dr. Cohen

The test used to diagnose HIV infection during the seronegative "window period" is usually not the quantitative HIV RNA PCR (viral load test), but the qualitative HIV DNA PCR. However, both should be positive during the acute retroviral syndrome because the viral load at that stage is high. Had you been infected, either the serology or the viral load should have been positive. It sounds to me like you are not infected.



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