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Question
Posted by: which test | 2007/06/20

which test

hi doc

i asked you earlier bout hiv test at bout three months after possible exposure. u said i can go for viral load test then also mentioned three other test. now i just want to know, which one of the following three is the viral load test or is it something different: The antibody test, The combination test, The PCR test


thanks

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Our expert says:
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Dear which test
PCR (polymerase chain reaction), often detects HIV infection months before the antibody test; in one case reported at the AIDS conference in Stockholm, it detected HIV three and a half years before seroconversion. Some persons who are negative on the antibody test, P24 antigen, viral culture, and all other tests have been found to be positive on the PCR

Viral load tests are reported as the number of HIV copies in a milliliter of blood. If the viral load measurement is high, it indicates that HIV is reproducing and that the disease will likely progress faster than if the viral load is low.
A viral load result that reads “undetectable” does not mean that you are cured. It may mean that the level of HIV virus in your blood is below the threshold needed for detection by this test.

Antibodies to the HIV virus can be detected by a screening test called an ELISA. The ELISA test is repeated if positive. The ELISA method is very sensitive but requires another test, a Western Blot, to confirm the results because false positives can occur. Antibody testing will not detect HIV immediately after exposure, during the window before the development of antibodies. If you are tested too soon, your result may be negative despite the fact that you are infected (false negative). Because of this, repeat testing is important. You should have another HIV antibody test in 3–6 months from the time of a possible exposure to the virus.

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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