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HIV PCR Test
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HIV PCR Test

I had an HIVA PCR test the 28th day after potential exposure. The woman I was with is a co-worker who is married and swears she has never had other partners nor has her husband but I am having all kinds of symptoms. I am also married with much to risk. I know I am so stupid, the guilt is unreal. My question is, I have had soar throat, swollen lymph nodes, stomach aches and headaches non-stop. My question is, are the results to the PCR test reliable? I don't want to harm my wife. Do I need additional testing if the results come back negative. Thank you for your help.
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27 Comments Post a Comment
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Avatar_m_tn
No the results of a PCR test are not reliable and the test is not approved for diagnostic use. If you have had an exposure due to unprotected anal or vaginal sex you can test at 6 weeks and if that test is negative you'll need to get a conclusive test at 3 months post exposure.
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Avatar_m_tn

I understand the impulse to take a PCR test. I also understand why it seems an appealing option to many. It is advertised by companies such as Lab Corp. and Quest Diagnostics as a shortcut in the usual HIV testing protocol. After all, who, when facing a 3 month window period, would not be tempted by a test that claims to eliminate doubt after only 28 days?

The problem with these tests, though, is that they come with significant drawbacks. The first is price. At (at the time I took one) 300 smackers a pop, they aren't cheap. The second, and more significant drawback, is their propensity to deliver false positives. The third problem with the test is that even if they come back negative, many people will still want to get the "definitive" test at 3 months, just to be sure. If you still need a test at 3 months, just to be sure, what, exactly, did that $300 buy you? Not much. Fourth, and finally, these tests are not approved for diagnostic purposes by the FDA. Which leads directly back to point 3 - an important consideration for many who come here, worried and anxious about their HIV status.

With that said, I am curious about the specifics of your situation. You do not mention many specifics in your original post. Would it be possible to provide these? For instance, what type of sex, did you wear a condom, etc.
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Avatar_n_tn
Teak first... are you a doc? Why do you say that it is worhtless? Have I been completley scammed and the results will be of no value at all?

Xhost, no condom use. I was really drunk which lead to this in the first place which I deeply regret. Also there was oral both ways and vaginal sex. So you guys are both basically telling me that the test has no bearing on true diagnosis at all and that I have been scammed?
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Avatar_m_tn
Read my profile.
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Avatar_n_tn
that is not what they are saying....your negative PCR RNA/DNA test at 28 days is a great sign that you didn't get HIV from your exposure.... they are just saying for legal purposes that your test is not approved to tell you that you are negative (even though in reality a negative PCR test at that time is a good indicator)... And the test is not a scam for instance San Francisco city clinic uses this regularly do you think a city clinic in high gay population would use a test that wouldn't work??
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Avatar_m_tn
About the Abbott RealTime HIV-1 Viral Load Test
The Abbott RealTime HIV-1 assay, for use on the m2000 system, is among the most sensitive viral load tests available today, with a broad dynamic range, capable of quantitating HIV-1 in plasma down to as few as 40 RNA molecules per milliliter (mL) and up to as many as 10 million molecules per mL. The Abbott RealTime HIV-1 assay is intended for use in conjunction with clinical presentation and other laboratory markers as an indicator of disease prognosis and for use as an aid in assessing viral response to antiretroviral treatment as measured by changes in plasma HIV-1 RNA levels. This assay is not intended to be used as a donor-screening test for HIV-1 or as a diagnostic test to confirm the presence of HIV-1 infection.

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Avatar_n_tn
i understand 100% what you are saying but the doctors at the SF city clinic said a negative RNA test along with a negative ELISA test is about as good as it gets when eliminating the possibility of a new HIV infection.... They only do the RNA test accompanied with an ELISA... I'm just citing the info the give me as they are highly trusted when it comes to this sort of stuff....
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Avatar_n_tn
basically they said it's impossible to be negative in both rna and elisa and still hiv isnt this correct???
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Avatar_m_tn
An RNA test has an FDA approval to be used as a supplemental test in conjuction with an Antibody test.
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Avatar_m_tn

Well, not necessarily. I should say that I had a PCR test done, at the 28 day mark, at the behest of an infectious disease specialist in Washington, DC. He specialized in the treatment of HIV/AIDS, and I had the blood drawn right in his office. When the results came back negative, he told me to put the whole thing to bed. I asked him about the use of this test, as I had done a bit of reading on the subject, and he said that while the test is not FDA approved for diagnostic testing, he used it for that purpose.

Ok, confusing. On the one hand, plenty of people say: don't get the test (and I would probably include myself in that category, given the issues outlined in an earlier post). On the other, some doctors use it for diagnostic purposes. What to make of this? Well, I cannot say for sure. All I may safely do is relate to you my own experiences and then you will have to take a decision for yourself.

In my case, even after I took the test, I continued to fret. Why? Because of the CDC guidelines that state the only definitive test is an antibody test taken at the 3 month mark. So, I went out and got a test at the 3 month mark, it was negative (of course, I had no real risk to begin with, though I did not know that at the time) and I put it behind me.

So, where does that leave you. I am not among those that feel that the results of your test will have no value at all. In fact, I feel that the test results, whatever they may be, will be a very good indicator of your HIV status. Given your description of the events that led you here, my feeling is that you do not have much to be worried about in terms of HIV. I would be quite surprised if any of the tests you decided to take turned up positive. My guess is that your PCR will be negative, meaning no detectable virus was found in your blood. This should cause you to breath a lot easier. If you are still concerned, there is absolutely no harm in taking a test at the 6 week mark, just for more reassurance.

Yes, of course, the 3 month test is considered *the* conclusive test. But, a vast majority of those who contract HIV will seroconvert before the 6 week mark. Meaning, a test taken at 6 weeks will also be a very, very, very good indicator of your HIV status. If it is negative, and I am sure it will be, this will provide you even more reassurance. While taking the 6 week test, should you decide to do so (and, you are almost at the 6 week mark), go ahead and schedule the 3 month test. Once the 3 month test is taken, you are finished, done, time to put this behind you.

The testing protocol (fancy word!) outlined above is solely to allay anxiety. Some people don't seem to sweat out the testing process at all, while others (and, perhaps you are in this category) seem to expend an awful lot of energy worrying, fretting and feeling anxious about this. For the latter, it is often a good idea, solely to reduce the anxiety levels and retain the ability to function in a marriage, job and life, to get the 6 week test and then the 3 month test, with the idea that getting a result (not definitive, but a pretty good darn indicator of your status) earlier may *help* reduce anxiety levels.

I know, gets pretty complicated, doesn't it? If you are anything like me, I was surprised that there was not a simpler, faster method for determining my HIV status. But, something to keep in mind, the odds are pretty well in your favor that you did *not* contract HIV from the woman in question. In fact, I would be willing to bet my house (well, shack is more like it, but it's the thought that counts!) that you did not. You are coming up on an important milestone, the six week mark, so it is not as if you have to wait another month or more for any type of good news.

Trust me, you can and will get through this. In four months, you will barely remember what you are going through right now. It just takes a little time.
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Avatar_n_tn
thanks for clarifying teak :)

so to the original poster... what teak is telling you is just go get a 3 month anti-body test and if that's negative then your fine...
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Avatar_m_tn
Show any PCR test that has the approval from the mfg., FDA or the CDC that states that it is approved for diagnostic use. If a doctor uses those tests and gives you a conclusive negative result they can be sued for improper use of the test. I don't know any doctor that would use a PCR test to give a diagnoses and I've been going to an ID doctor for over 24 years.
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for the input, I have been worried sick about my exposure becasue I am afraid I have given a death sentance to my wife too. Still don't have test results back from PCR. Tomorrow will be day 5 in the lab at which I am told it is a 2 to 5 day test.

Anyway, the girl I was with was a lot tighter than I have experrienced and was very dry. We eventually had to stop becasue there was no lubrication and I lost erection with the amount of alcohol in my body. I make mention only because I am worried about dry friction and micro blood transfer as a result. Something I remember from a health class back in college.


Also she mentioned that she caught her husband in an online affair by email but he swears they never actually met therefore sex with them is "by her account" not possible. Personally I think she is blind (just look at what she did with me). Anyway I can't point any fingers, bottom line is I can't work, eat, sleep, I am losing my mind literally with fear. I truly love my wife so much and can't believe that alcohol is such a demon. It should be a drug. What else is capable of enabling people to do something they would never do if sober?

The day before the PCR test I was blasted by a doc with a shot to kill any UTI, and 2 antibiotics (one to kill yeast and another to help with my throat and sinus infection). I am also HLAb27 positive (diagnosed with Reiters) some time ago. Could the antibiotics or the HLAB27 affect or skew the PCR test? I have asked several doc's and they don't pretend to know!!! The unknown in the medical field is scarry to me...
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Avatar_n_tn
Thank you for the input, I have been worried sick about my exposure becasue I am afraid I have given a death sentance to my wife too. Still don't have test results back from PCR. Tomorrow will be day 5 in the lab at which I am told it is a 2 to 5 day test.

Anyway, the girl I was with was a lot tighter than I have experrienced and was very dry. We eventually had to stop becasue there was no lubrication and I lost erection with the amount of alcohol in my body. I make mention only because I am worried about dry friction and micro blood transfer as a result. Something I remember from a health class back in college.


Also she mentioned that she caught her husband in an online affair by email but he swears they never actually met therefore sex with them is "by her account" not possible. Personally I think she is blind (just look at what she did with me). Anyway I can't point any fingers, bottom line is I can't work, eat, sleep, I am losing my mind literally with fear. I truly love my wife so much and can't believe that alcohol is such a demon. It should be a drug. What else is capable of enabling people to do something they would never do if sober?

The day before the PCR test I was blasted by a doc with a shot to kill any UTI, and 2 antibiotics (one to kill yeast and another to help with my throat and sinus infection). I am also HLAb27 positive (diagnosed with Reiters) some time ago. Could the antibiotics or the HLAB27 affect or skew the PCR test? I have asked several doc's and they don't pretend to know!!! The unknown in the medical field is scarry to me...
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Avatar_m_tn

"...Show any PCR test that has the approval from the mfg., FDA or the CDC that states that it is approved for diagnostic use. If a doctor uses those tests and gives you a conclusive negative result they can be sued for improper use of the test."

Teak is quite correct in pointing this out: the PCR is not considered relevant in diagnostic terms. In other words, it should not be used to determine one's HIV status. After reading through what I had written, I believe I was vague.

What should be used is a standard antibody test, available at any clinic. The appropriate time to test, according to the CDC, is at the 3 month mark. A test at 6 weeks is simply a means to help allay anxiety, as it is an excellent indicator of one's HIV status. But, of course, it should be followed up with a test at 3 months, just to cross your Ts and dot your Is.

Is that less vague?
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Avatar_n_tn
My results for HIV PCR test were negative and non-reatice for HIV 1, of course due to the info mentioned above, it has provided some peace but not a lot due to it's non-diagnostic recommendation. So now of course I will be tested in 6 weeks and 3 mos. My question is, what is the name of the test I should get at 6 weeks that is most accurate and what is the name of the test I should get a 3 mos that is most accurate?

Thank you so much for the help.
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Avatar_m_tn
Get whatever antibody test is used where you are getting tested.
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Avatar_n_tn
So you are saying one is no better than another? A rapid vs ora-quik etc? Any advice, please?
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Avatar_n_tn
I think Teak is too busy to answer and his last response was so vague I don't know quite what to think? Is there anyone that can help me determine if there is a preferred 6 week antibody test and what it is called and then what the preferred 3 month antibody test is called so I know what to ask for? Thank you.

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Avatar_m_tn
An Oraquick test is a Rapid test which is also an ELISA test. It doesn't make any difference which test you take as long as it is an antibody test.
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Avatar_n_tn
Teak, last time I'll bother you. Please let me know your thoughts on my negative PCR test I received yesterday. I understand your comments on their non-use for diagnostic purposes, but is the negative result a good sign at all or is it totally useless? I have had a headach for 2 weeks, soar throat, swollen lymph nodes in my neck, pain in my chest/lungs when inhaling, caughing, sinus infection, and bouts of diarehia for the last 2 weeks. Potential exposure (vaginal and oral sex with a female) was 5 weeks ago. Is my complete and utter fear and stress making me sick? Is that really possible? I just fear my ARS symptoms are HIV related.

I know you are overworked on this website but you are a very needed person. I have read a lot of posts and you help so many people with their fear that is out-of-this-world. You truly are an angel behind the scenes. I hope your reward is great some day.
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Avatar_n_tn
I work in a lab where we use HIV as a vector to infect cells. It is a safe enough practice where the active part of the virus is removed so it cannot replicate within the host. I have heard that if exposed to this your PCR results can test positive but infact you dont have HIV. Just a little note as to the innaccuracy of PCR test.Viral load is probably more conclusive as to this.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Yokes,

I did not understand your response. My result was negative, not a false positive. In laymens terms what did your response mean. I'm not a doctor or a chemist like you so I'm even more confused now. Please help. Thank you very much.
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Avatar_n_tn
Hi Teak, can you please interprate yokes response above? I got an answer but don't know what it means. Please.

Thank you.
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Avatar_m_tn
He tried to explain with one reason why PCR tests are not approved to diagnose HIV.
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Avatar_n_tn
So no one has really answered me yet. Everyone cautiones against PCR due to cost and False positives. My results were negative for both PCR and antibody at 4 weeks. Does this mean anything at all??? Is it a good indicator or no indicator at all?
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Avatar_n_tn
its a good sign, dont worry everything will be fine. test at 3 mnths and you can relax then.
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