HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
hiv test conclusive or not
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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hiv test conclusive or not


good day doctor,

i want to know that what is the difference between HIV RNA and HIV antibody combo test ?
and can anybody have negative HIV ANTIBODY  test and positive HIV RNA test after 12 months of exposure?
239123_tn?1267651214
Welcome to the forum.

The combo tests simultaneously for antibody to HIV and p24 antigen, a protein component of the virus.  The RNA test looks for the virus's genetic material.  In other words, both p24 antigen and RNA are direct tests for the virus itself, whereas antibody measures the immune system's response to the virus.

It is not possible to have HIV for 12 months and have a negative antibody tests -- regardless of the RNA test result.

Having also looked at your thread on the HIV community forum, I agree with the advice there -- i.e. you could not have acquired HIV from the exposure described, even if your girlfriend had HIV, which probably she did not.

Regards--  HHH, MD
4 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
Actually even i thought that it is not possible to have negative antibody test after 12 months of exposure or more and i think my exposure is more than 18 months old.

Anyways but

1)  my doctor here told me that antibody test just detects body's response to virus so i need to get HIV RNA test...is it correct?

2) is p24 antigen and RNA same thing?

3) Can anybody have positive RNA test and negative antibody (p24 combo ) test 18 months after exposure?

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Avatar_m_tn
also i wanna know if i have a negative antibody test after 18 months of exposure should i get a RNA test or not as it is very expensive here in my country?
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239123_tn?1267651214
1) Your doctor is wrong, or you misunderstood.

2,3) These are the same questions answered above, in different words.  I'm not going to repeat myself.

You definitely should not have an RNA test.  Your negative antibody tests prove you do not have HIV.  Additional testing would be a waste of money.

Don't over think it.  There is no additional information you can provide that would possibly change my opinion or advice, so I will have no further replies.  This thread is over.
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
Seattle, WA
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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