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How reliable is PCR HIV test 1 month after an exposure?

2 doctors weighed in
Dr. Joel Gallant
Internal Medicine - Infectious Disease
1 doctor agrees

In brief: Not the best test

The better test 1 month after exposure is either a standard serology (elisa with confirmatory western blot if positive) or a 4th generation antibody/antigen test.
Hiv PCR (viral load) will usually be positive, but false positives and negatives can occur, so it's an imperfect diagnostic test. Viral load is used diagnostically mainly in people with symptoms of acute infection.

In brief: Not the best test

The better test 1 month after exposure is either a standard serology (elisa with confirmatory western blot if positive) or a 4th generation antibody/antigen test.
Hiv PCR (viral load) will usually be positive, but false positives and negatives can occur, so it's an imperfect diagnostic test. Viral load is used diagnostically mainly in people with symptoms of acute infection.
Dr. Joel Gallant
Dr. Joel Gallant
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