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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Shane
Unregistered

To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA
      #25290 - 12/06/01 12:08 PM

Hi Zoom,

Before I begin, please understand I'm not a doctor or scientist. I'm someone who unfortunately has an
OCD issue with an exposure I had. The good thing about it is, I've spent a lot of time researching
every aspect of testing, from phone calls to lab technicians to surfing the net. With that said, only you
and a trained professional can make a decision as to the validity of what my opinion is and how it
applies to you...

When the virus enters your body it's in RNA form...but it needs to reproduce. To do this is infects
small white blood cells called lymphocytes and helper killer T cells. Once inside the cell, it does a lot
of things which I won't waste your time trying to explain, but the short of it is, it leaves a copy of its
DNA. Now we have a copy of the RNA in DNA form...the infected cell (DNA) now starts
producing thousands of RNA virus....thus those RNA viruses go out and infect more healthy WBC
and leave a copy of their DNA, hence the life cycle.

What an RNA PCR test looks for is the circulating virus in the plasma...free floating virus. When
you're infected during all stages you have thousands of these RNA particles floating around. An RNA
PCR test looks for these particles and tells us how many (in general) there are. If someone is on
antivirals, it is possible that their viral load will be undetectable...but it depends on the test. Some tests
test down to 50 particles per sample others 400. This test is used as a diagnostic tool if recent
infection is suspected, because early in the infection life-cycle 1-4 weeks, your body has no natural
antibodies and the virus runs rampant...this is what causes ARS. Once your body produces
antibodies, the virus level will level off, but is usually still detected.

A PCR DNA test looks for the DNA inside the WBC. It is also a qualitative test, meaning it doesn't
count the number, as it is only looking for one infected cell to be able to be positive. Even if there is
undetectable RNA, the DNA inside the WBC will still be positive, this is why this test is used for
diagnostic purposes for HIV. Now before I get yelled at here...neither PCR test is approved for
diagnostic tests by the FDA except in infants. But it is not against the law to use them that way,
because that are approved by CLIA, which is the government organization that oversees labs and
testing. The reason why the FDA has not approved this test is because for mass screening it would
NOT have the same gold standard...why? Both tests are very complicated to perform, and not very
rapid as they take up to 7 hrs to complete. They are also VERY sensitive and have a higher rate of
false positives...you'd have about 5 out of 100 you would show positive but really be negative. They
also have a slightly higher rate that ELSIA of false negatives...around 1%, an ELISA is 99.9% where
as a PCR DNA is 99%...which means on avg., you'll get 1 out of 100 that are positive but will read
negative.

If someone KNOWS they have had a risky exposure to someone who has HIV and are experiencing
ARS symptoms, then either test is fine for ruling in or out infection. If someone is having a ton of
mental anguish over any type of exposure then it's my opinion that the tests serve a good purpose for
mental well being. With all that said, it's also my opinion that you should back up any test with an
ELISA at 3 and 6 months for confirmation. As you "might" see, I'll get called every name in the book
for saying this, but to me, the chance of infecting others, if one has been exposed, is too much of a
burden, that it's good to eliminate all doubts.

You might find this link useful: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/aids/action.html

Hope this helps

Peace
Shane






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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25293 - 12/06/01 12:53 PM

shane why dont you practice what u preach and test 3 and 6 months with a Elisa antibody test ?

get lost
you are the one hurting



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Shane
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25294 - 12/06/01 01:23 PM

I'm curious why you're such a jerk? Why are you still here? I offer help and opinions, that's why I'm
here. I also post that what I preach is only an opinion. I also tell it like it is and admit I have a lot of
emotional issues when it comes to OCD and that I myself am not brave enough yet to get the 6 month
test after my PCR. I thought my PCR was final, or I would have never taken it. It was only after
taking it and posting the good news that I learned it wasn't conclusive like I was told.

You are a major head case...you spit your venomous anger, because you are the one who can't even
take the FIRST step and admit, you've got a problem...instead if anyone disagrees with you, you lash
out. You also preach your BAD and DANGEROUS opinions on testing at 1 month so that you can
convince yourself you're okay. Misery loves company and you're a prime example.

Of course you scream you're not the same person whom I'm referring too...but we all know you are.

Again, I'm sorry that you're hurting, but why be nasty to me...I've nothing to you and I only post what
I can back up with references. Oh, I forgot, you beleive the CDC is full of C r a p...right???

You should get lost...



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Zoom42
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25295 - 12/06/01 01:25 PM

Shane,

first of all, thanks your answers.

This seems to me that the chances of being infected with HIV after a possible exposure and taking a RNA/bDNA (viral load) at 6 weeks and an ELISA + p24 tests at 7 weeks, both tests coming back negative, are fairly low.

You mentionned false negatives with the RNA tests (PCR and bDNA) and also the possibility of the virus level levelling off, once the body produces antibodies. In that case would not have the ELISA + p24 have turned up positive?

Does Quest Diagnostics provide the PCR DNA test as well?

Thanks.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25296 - 12/06/01 01:34 PM

shane or Jocko or whatever your name is
why do you think I say 1 month is conclusive ?
LOL youre a dope get lost we all know 3 months is conclusive and I have tested out to 3 months

good bye creep



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Jackie_Blue
Legend

Reged: 10/26/00
Posts: 2028
Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25297 - 12/06/01 01:49 PM

At the risk of getting involved in a dispute that isn't mine. I know I get in enough on my own. However....

What's it really matter if Shane hasn't tested yet. Even tho' he believes 6 months is conclusive. He has already admitted to issues that have kept him from testing. It really doesn't make any difference in your life or mine. The truth is that is Shane's issue to work out.

Whether he as tested or not does not negate the fact he has done quite a bit of research and does have good information. Yes, people can find information to contradict some of his, but that is the case with everything on the internet.



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Shane
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25302 - 12/06/01 02:28 PM

Hello Again Zoom,

As predicted, I brought on the wrath...anyway, I would agree with you that once your body cleared up the ARS, it would mean it was leveled off by antibodies, thus they would be detectable at any period whether it be 4 weeks or 20. Yes, Quest does do PCR's.

The anger that this individual has towards me is due to my belief in the definition of the word "conclusive". Since the consequences of HIV are what they are, and since, as an example, I would hate to infect my wife and thus my baby, I believe that conclusive should mean as close to ZERO as possible. I have talked to Lab technicians, have even posted the link to CLIA where they do yearly tests on samples to see the sensitivity and specitivity of various HIV test (you can look at he
results too http://www.phppo.cdc.gov/mpep/default.asp ) and have come to the conclusion that (my opinion) that some, NOT A LOT, as a matter of fact, very few, do take the FULL 3 months to seroconvert. In some cases, out of "that" very few, take longer. All these tests have a degree of complexity and human interaction that can and do, ON RARE occasions, result in incorrect readings, both + and -. With that said, I (me personally) need to be as close to 100% as I possibly can of my status. SO for me, maybe not anyone else, I know that I WILL NOT be happy until I get a 6 month test. This is not tot say that YOU or ANYONE else needs one....its my OPINION only and a personal decision.

I will however, defend the fact, that an ELISA test at 1 month, although very encouraging, and very likely the real status, is not conclusive. I've read stories of people telling of their experience of turning positive and getting neg results at 1 month. It could be that these instances are from the 1st generation tests...but for someone to preach that 1 month is near or conclusive, in my opinion is dangerous and irresponsible. I think the experts at The Body would agree.

In closing, a test at 7 weeks, coupled with all the back up tests you took, in my opinion, I have no doubt that you're negative. But in the end you and your doctor need to make that decision.

I hope this help, and ignore the Aholes on this board...for the most part everyone is great here.

Peace
Shane






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TJMax
Unregistered

Re: To Zoom42 RNA vs DNA new
      #25309 - 12/06/01 03:02 PM

Dude, what an ass you are. This dude is trying to help people, states that he's only givin an opinion, and you jump his sh$t. Whatz UP! Why are u such a hater? Instead of dealing out insults why don't u try to be part of the solution, or is your game to be an ass?



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shane
Regular

Reged: 12/06/01
Posts: 40
Zoom42 one last thing! new
      #25313 - 12/06/01 03:33 PM

As far as your p24, that will only stay positive early on, befoer the antibodies...once they kick in p24 usually is negative. The great new is the following:

#1 If you would have been infected, your p24 should have been positive.

#2 If you had already produced antibodies to make the p24 a false negative, then your antibody test would have been positive.

#3 Couple that with the fact you took an RNA test, whcih would not be undetected without meds and even then it's rare...makes you your status as good as it gets.

If you find yourself still worrying, try and get the courage (something I can't do) and get tested at 3 months...

Peace
Shane



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Zoom42
Unregistered

Re: Zoom42 one last thing! new
      #25322 - 12/06/01 06:14 PM

Thanks Shane,

it's just that I have had these really strange symptoms for the last 9 weeks (strong constant headaches, drowsiness, itching, white tongue, neck stiffness, fatigue, jointaches, back pain, stomach pains, nose bleed, chills and night sweats). They seem to indicate ARS.

I did a standard blood test at 3 weeks and got tested for Mononucleosis twice and everything came back negative or normal. All STDs tests came back negative as well.

I have never been sick my entire life and I am only 27.

I guess I will do one more ELISA test in 3 weeks and see what happens.



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shane
Regular

Reged: 12/06/01
Posts: 40
Re: Zoom42 one last thing! new
      #25338 - 12/06/01 10:52 PM

I fully understand your worry...I've been in the same boat several times...but like Jackie_blue says, if you stay on this board long enough, you'll see people with every symptom in the ARS dictionary, and they end up being Neg, not just once but many times.

At some point you'll have to let it go. Now, maybe I shouldn't tell you this, because the odds of you having this are also slim to none, and since your had a normal CBC (blood count) it probably is nothing, but with nose bleeds you always want to rule out leukemia. Many forms of Leukemia of very curable if caught early enough...I know about this because I have Thalassemia which isn't leukemia, but it is a blood disorder with similar traits...

Just something you might want to keep in the back of your mind if the aches, pains and bleeding continue. They can take some blood from your finger and look at it under a microscope and get a good idea...

Peace...
Shane




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