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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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Avatar universal
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.
Avatar universal

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.
Avatar universal
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?
Avatar universal
Read my profile.
Avatar universal
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??
Avatar universal
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.

Avatar universal
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....
Avatar universal
basically they said it's impossible to be negative in both rna and elisa and still hiv isnt this correct???
Avatar universal
An RNA test has an FDA approval to be used as a supplemental test in conjuction with an Antibody test.
Avatar universal

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.
Avatar universal
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...
Avatar universal
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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