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Done HIV DNA RT PCR test after 4.5 days of exposure. How reliable is it?

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Practicing since : 2005
Answered : 1390 Questions
Hi I've been reading contradicting information about the HIV PCR test. I have read that it can detect the virus within 72 hours and is most accurate at 28 days. I had a HIV DNA RT PCR test done 4.5 days after possible exposure because I suffer from anxiety and couldn't wait. My results were HIV 1/0/2 ABS-Index Value <1.00 and HIV 1/0/2 ABS, QUAL Non-Reactive. How reliable is this test within the time I took it? I know I need to follow-up with an antibody test in 4 weeks but can I relax unitl then? I still have 2 weeks left to wait. And I also took a full panel SRD check and everything came back negative. Is there any STD tests that I need to redo because I know all tests have a window period?
Posted Wed, 26 Sep 2012 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 3 hours later
Hi Dear,

Thanks for writing in.

I understand your concern.

I advise you to relax as the HIV PCR is very much accurate and almost 100% reliable at 28 days.

It can detect almost less than 50 viral copies when present in blood.

As you know all the test have window period. Antibody based test like ELISA has more window period upto 3 months.

You can retest at 28 days for ELISA , western blot or RT PCR.

Also you can retest for RPR test for syphilis.

Also I would like to know -

Do you have any symptoms related to genitals?

What was the exposure like?(high risk or low risk)

Also please be calm as DNA PCR is
The DNA PCR is the absolute most sensitive test for HIV. In terms of measurement capacity, it can detect as little as 10 copies of proviral DNA per milliliter of whole blood.

The sensitivity of the test is 100% and is very accurate test. You can rely on it especially if the test is done after 2 weeks of exposure.

Hope this helps.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Done HIV DNA RT PCR test after 4.5 days of exposure. How reliable is it? 20 hours later
Well the HIV DNA PCR test I took was only 4.5 days after possible exposure. I found out in early March that I have herpes 1/2. So far as the possible exposure the guy I slept with used a condom, I put it on him. As we changed positions as we were having sex the condom was still on because I felt for it everry time and It's a big difference from using a condom and not using one. My concern is after he ejaculated he got up so quickly and I just went straight to the bathroom to wash myself up. When I got up no cum came out and I even stuck my finger in my vagina to see if anything would come out and it was just a little bit of my own cum. So I really can't say what if this is consider to be a high risk or not.
Answered by Dr. Sudarshan 1 hour later
Hi dear,

After going through the description I feel it is a low risk episode.

As discussed earlier there is nothing to worried as the DNA PCR is negative.

Re testing of ELISA needs to be done at 4 weeks.

Hope this helps.

Wishing you good health.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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