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PCR not detecting all strains of HIV?
      #97164 - 05/01/04 03:10 PM

As many worried persons, I took a PCR-RNA 4 weeks after my infection risk, to amend my fears. It came back negative. Although I should relax now, I'm still concerned, because I have read that all commercially available PCR-kits are just looking for the common HIV-1 strains, and are neither able to detect HIV-1-subtype-O nor HIV-2!
Because of that, I am wondering why so many posters here suppose a 4-week negative PCR to be conclusive. How can you, when you know its unable to detect the full spectrum?
Or do you have other information?

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Reged: 04/28/04
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Re: PCR not detecting all strains of HIV? new
      #97330 - 05/03/04 05:20 PM

Hi there!

It is true that PCR testing does not pick up ALL of the variants out there. Please keep in mind that HIV-1 type O strain is very very rare in the US. There are only about 100 cases of type O infection worldwide and are mostly confined to central and western Africa. HIV-2 at the moment is confined to regions of Africa as well. Unless you visited Africa and had unprotected sex with a sex worker, sex with someone with HIV-2 infection, or blood transfusion in West Africa then I really would not worry. Your 4 week PCR is conclusive that you are not infected.

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