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18 Jul 2005

PCR Test Quant. and Qual.
Hi,
I would like to know more about the HIV PCR test.
I had a low to no risk exposure recently, been tested but still stressed.
I went for a PCR test about 13 days after suspected exposure.
The test came back negative.

My problem is there is so much conflicting info. around and it has confused me.
What I would like to know is:

How accurate is the PCR test. I believe it is the most accurate?
What is the difference between a PCR Quantitative and PCR Qualitative? Is one more accurate than the other?
Can I safely say that after having the PCR test and testing negative, I am HIV negative?

Can I go on with my life know and put this experience behind me?

Please, I only want an answer from the Pathologist or expert.

thanks
Dee.
Answer 451 views
Expert
pathologist

01 Jan 0001

1) 13 days is a bit short, and although the risk that you may have been in the window period is very very small, we usually say 18 - 21 days.

2) There is no difference between a qualitative and quantitative PCR. The former is used for diagnostic purposes and the second for therapeutic purposes, to monitor viral load. Both test are for all practical purposes 100% accurate.

3) My suggestion is that you either go for another PCR. If it is 4 - 6 weeks later, go for an Elisa. If it is negative, relax and enjoy life.
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