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What is PCR test for HIV and AIDS?

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Dr. S. Murugan

HIV AIDS Specialist

Practicing since :1974

Answered : 2813 Questions

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Posted on Sun, 30 Jul 2017 in HIV and AIDS
Question: Hello Doctors
I had unprotected sex with with some few days back. Since I don't want to wait for a window period of 3 months for the regular HIV test I would like to go for something with a shorter window period. I have heard of HIV RNA PCR TEST for early detection (with a window period of 12 days) .
I would like to know where can i get these tests done in kolkata? What test name should i ask for when i go to the lab.
Is HIV TAQMAN test the same as HIV RNA PCR test?

Dear Doctors

I would like to add to my previous question. Some labs in my locality mentioned they have HIV QUALITATIVE PCR. What window period does this have? Will this test be apt for my condition? Is this test the same as HIV RNA PCR?

I would appreciate if you can explain this to me in detail

Regards
XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
doctor
Answered by Dr. S. Murugan 4 hours later
Brief Answer:
DNA PCR or qualitative RNA PCR are ideal to detect early HIV 1

Detailed Answer:
Hi,
Welcome to HCM.
Thanks for posting your query.
All the unprotected sex are not infectious.

HIV RNA PCR is of two types. Quantitative is meant to assess the prognosis of the disease whereas the qualitative RNA PCR has diagnostic value as well as DNA PCR. So you can take up either DNA PCR or qualitative RNA PCR. Even though it can detect the presence of HIV as early as a weeks time, it is considered conclusive 3-4 weeks after the risky contact. Moreover these PCR test can detect only HIV 1 infection only, not HIV 2. To detect HIV 2 you have to take up a separate HIV 2 PCR which is available only with selective labs.
PCR tests are available with many bigger labs like SRL Ranbaxy, VIMTA, Lal path, Path care, Hitech, Metropolis etc.
At the same time, I would like to point out that HIV 1 infection is the most common infection throughout the world except certain parts of XXXXXXX to the extent of 99 %or more.
The antibody detecting regular tests can detect both HIV 1&2 after the window period.
Dr S Murugan
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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