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Your response that testing cannot be perfect
Jul 25, 2004

Dr. Lee:

In a recent response to someone with a concern about infection, despite a negative ELISA, you said that the problem is that there is no "100% test" and she must live with "some level of uncertainty".

Essentially, are you saying that - in very rare cases - some HIV infections may be undiagnosable? (for example, if it was a rare strain and the person, for some reason, was one of those who didn't develop antibodies)...or, would a DNA PCR on cells be definitive in ruling out HIV in such cases...at least, if repeatedly negative after 6 months?

Many thanks.

Response from Dr. Lee

Please! I am simply saying that no one can give anyone a 100% guarantee that they do not have something. There are no 100% guarantees in life, particularly when trying to prove a negative. I believe that anyone with a negative antibody after 6 mos and a negative PCR in addition, should accept that they do not have HIV and move on with their life.


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