Hi Dr. Bob,
I know this test is the only FDA approved PCR test and is generally used in the window period before an anitbody test would be positive.
My question is would this test be just as effective in identifying someone who has had HIV for a long time, like many years?
I check the archives but didn't see too much information about this.
The gold standard for HIV-diagnostic testing remains an HIV-antibody test outside the window period. But to directly respond to your question, yes, the APTIMA HIV-1 RNA Qualitative Assay would be detectable (positive) in HIVers who have been infected for many years. The test actually assays for a piece of the HIV's genetic material.