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DNA PCR Blood Handling
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DNA PCR Blood Handling

Dear Doctors:

This is a follow-on question regarding an incident that involved the ingestion of a few drops of breast-milk from a Dominican prostitute, 2 July 2011.  As described before, I went on to experience many very strong symptoms consistent with ARS.  However, 4th gen tests between 3 weeks and 11 months were 'non-reactive'.  At 13 months, after series of oral ulcers (gums and tongue), I decided to have a PCR test.  Because diagnosis by PCR is not offered in Ontario, Canada, I made arrangements for an HIV-1 DNA PCR test through a US online STD agency. The testing was done by Quest Diagnostics and I did receive a transcript of the results: "Not Detected".  Good news - but I am concerned that the handling of the sample could have invalidated the results.

I had to travel to a clinic in Waternown, NY State, to have the blood drawn.  The clinic's role was just to draw the blood and arrange for its shipment to the Quest Diagnostics lab (code: AMD).  A few days after the blood draw I was informed that I would have to return to the clinic for a second blood draw because the first was made in an incorrect "Tiger Top" vacutainer, causing the sample to be rejected by the lab.  The STD test agency coordinating the tests confirmed with the clinic that a lavender top (EDTA) tube should have been used and so it was for the second blood draw.  At this time I was also informed by the STD test agency that they confirmed the storage requirement for the sample - which was to leave it at room temperature.  I didn't challenge this but as far as I understand the sample probably should have been refrigerated.  The second blood draw was performed on Monday 30 July 2012 (16:00), received by the Quest lab on Thursday 2 August (03:22) and the ‘Not Detected’ result was reported on Saturday 4 August (15:22).

Does anything described raise a red flag and suggest a need for re-testing?
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Hello,
Thank you for your post.
Firstly your incident would have involved very little risk of HIV infection, if any at all.
Secondly, your negative test results are final and fully conclusive.  I can assure you that you do not have HIV.  I would advise you to stop testing for HIV.
If your symptoms persist, you should concentrate on doing other investigations.  Your doctor should be able to advise you on this.
Best wishes,
Dr José
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