Anonymous
I have a bad sexual experience with a CSW. I did rapid and 4th gen testing at 6 monthes comes negative but i have all symptoms of HIV by 4 monthes. I want to go for PCR tst and i want to know
1. what is PCR or Proviral DNA or HIV RNA tests
2. what is difference between these three.
3. Are the capable of finding all strains of HIV like 1 and 2 and all sub strains
4. Are the are confirmatory and what is window period for these.
please reply all four questions
Thanks
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Anonymous
Hello and thank you for contacting Aids Vancouver Helpline. It is great to hear that you have been tested, and I'll be glad to give you more information about the tests.

As you may know, the rapid test looks for HIV antibodies. The 4th generation test looks for both the antibodies and the P24 antigen, and is considered by many experts to be the most accurate test for HIV. All these tests are conclusive after 12 weeks (3 months). Since you were tested at 6 months, your negative results are conclusive and you do not need further testing. There has not been any cases reported of anyone's HIV status changing after 3 months.

However, just for interest I will answer your questions about the other tests:

PCR (polymerase chain reaction) detects the presence of HIV DNA or RNA. This test involves amplifying the small amounts of DNA or RNA present until it becomes detectable. There is also an "early" pooled RNA test which detects HIV RNA as early as 10-12 days, even before antibodies are produced. These tests may be done specifically for HIV-1, but as long as you do an antibody test you can detect both HIV 1 and 2. The "gold standard" confirmatory test is a Western Blot test that is an automatic follow up if someone tests positive in the preliminary tests, and can detect the HIV antigens as early as 4-6 weeks.

I hope I have answered your question. Feel free to contact us again, or visit us at AidsVancouver.org.

In health,

Ali,

Helpline Volunteer

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/online

Monday-Friday 10am-4pm (PST)

604 253 0566 Ext. 299

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