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HIV DNA PCR: Early detection
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HIV DNA PCR: Early detection

Hi,
     Is it true that 6 months after exposure, if someone is taking PCR test, it is a waste because it is meant for early detection like 1-2 months after exposure. HIV antibodies test at 6 months is as good as PCR test at 6 months???
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Avatar_m_tn
Your statement is accurate, to a point.  The HIV DNA PCR is not used for diagnostic purposes, however, it is the earliest detector of HIV, and is considered to be conclusive after 28 days.  The problem with taking it at 6 months after exposure is that it is pointless.  Most doctors say it's pointless to take one period.  The reason being is that the average person develops antibodies within a month after getting infected.  Thus, instead of paying $300 for a DNA PCR test at 30 days, you can pay $40-80 for an ELISA antibody test, which will be pretty accurate.  A negative antibody test at 6 weeks is not likely to change at 3 months.  Also, DNA PCR tests have a considerable high rate of showing false positives, which will make you worry like crazy, even though you don't have HIV.

So, DNA PCR is a waste in the first place, unless you're willing to spend the money and take the risk of a false positive.  However, if it shows negative, then you are indeed in the clear.
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Avatar_m_tn
the PCR in USA includes all strains it is done for and at 6 weeks along with the anti body is conclusive.
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