Posted by: twinkles | 2009-09-21

hiv tests accuracy

Hi I heard HIV tests are not foolproof not even the PCR test is that true?

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Our expert says:
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Dear Twinkles
the antibody tests can give false positive and false negative results, that is why we always do 2 tests - a Elisa and a western blot test. And with these you can only test the antibodies - so early on in the disease when the body hasn't made antibodies yet, these tests can't pick up that you are HIV positive ( first 3 months).
PCR tests actually tests for the RNA of the virus and is very sensitive. You can however have HIV and test negative with the PCR if you are on antiretroviral treatment and the viral load is reduced to such an extent that it is undetectable - these patients are then usually also regarded as almost non-infective.
Dr Bets

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