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How accurate is a HIV RNA early detection test at 8 days post exposure?

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How accurate is a HIV RNA early detection test at 8 days post exposure?

I know the HIV RNA test is 95-99% at 9-11 days post exposure. I am heading out of town and wanted to get one on the 8th day. Would this just decrease its accuracy slightly? I'm just looking for some comfort before I can take a DUO test at 3 weeks. Thank you.
Posted Tue, 30 Apr 2013 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Balaji Chinnasami 8 days later

Thanks for your query to XXXXXXX

Until now research on HIV RNA testing (test which is used to detect recent HIV infection) states that the test is able to detect the virus only after a minimum of 9 days of exposure. Hence it would be apt if you wait and get it tested on day 9.

Though HIV RNA test may provide earlier diagnosis of infection because it detects nucleic acid of the HIV VIRUS in human plasma (rather than the antibody response to the virus). Presence of HIV RNA in the plasma of patients without antibodies to HIV is indicative of only acute or primary HIV infection.

However, the test is not meant to be used as a stand-alone test for the diagnosis of HIV infection. A positive nucleic acid test(ie HIV RNA) is viewed as a unconfirmed test result, indicating only probable infection, and should be followed up later with other tests like DUO to confirm HIV infection.

Hope the information was useful, i am happy to answer any further queries in this regard.

Take care,
Dr. Balaji Chinnasami, MD
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