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ANTIBODY/ANTIGEN TESTS?
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An_247772 posted:
Hi

I had a possible exposure some 14-15 months back. Just to clear off my mind, wanted to take some tests. Took a Duo/Combo test and got it negative with 0.11. To get it off my system spoke to a counsellor.

However, she says this would not be conclusive. She says, I have to early detection profile which is PCR or bare minimum a P24 antigen test. When I asked her the reason, she says:

1) Theres always a chance that we need not produce enough antibodies or for that matter no antibodies at all to this Virus throughout our life. Hence, either the DNA/RNA or the P24 has to be traced.

I am very confused. Some body kindly clear these off and confirm whether this is true. Are there chances we might never produce antibodies to these? Is PCR or P24 antigen test required now?

Thanks
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georgiagail responded:

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P24 antigen testing can be useful in detecting HIV earlier than checking for antibodies; say, several days or a week after a possible exposure. It is not useful testing for someone whose possible exposure was 14-15 months back. You are far past the "early detection" phase of testing.

PCR tests check for the actual presence of the virus (as opposed to screening tests which check for the presence of antibodies). It is typically used when someone is confirmed to be HIV positive and the amount of virus present is useful in determining when to initiate medication or to see if the current meds are accurate.

Someone who does not produce specific antibodies to the virus after the length of time you're talking about does not have the virus in the first place OR (and this would NOT include you) has had HIV for a very, very long time, has gone from HIV to end stage AIDS, is very, very sick from the immune system being destroyed by the virus.

Again, at this stage, there would be very obvious signs of illness including severe weight loss, diarrhea, specific types of pneumonia, etc. etc..

You are HIV negative and no further testing from this event is needed.

Gail


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