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A 31-year-old male asked:

Why is hiv pcr used to test blood at blood banks, babies and acute hiv symps but not as a diagnosis? other than cost and false positive what could be the reason that some docs don't trust it? thanks

1 doctor answer2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Julie Abbott
Preventive Medicine 46 years experience
PCR is a ..: ..complex test, & more technically difficult to perform accurately than the antibody tests. Because PCR detects viral-RNA (proteins within the HIV virus) it is positive early in the course of infection & is used to try to confirm/exclude HIV as a diagnosis for a set of symptoms. You are correct that there are more false positives with PCR than with antibody tests. Antibody tests are gold standard
Last updated Apr 27, 2015
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