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HIV Facts, Transmission and Symptoms

What is HIV?

HIV is an acquired virus which, over time, can diminish the body’s ability to defend against certain viral, bacterial and fungal infections, some cancers and other potentially serious physical problems.

How is HIV transmitted?

HIV infection is usually transmitted by sex, sharing needles and from mother to child in the womb. Risky behavior does not guarantee that a person will contract HIV infection, but it always warrants testing to be sure.

What are the symptoms of HIV?

Because HIV can compromise important parts of the immune system, virtually anything can be a symptom at some point in the disease process.  In general, we believe that it is both unwise and counter-productive to focus on symptoms, unless you have already been diagnosed as having HIV infection.  Focusing on symptoms can easily lead to either unnecessary alarm or a false sense of security. A thoughtful risk assessment and proper testing provide the most sensible and practical ways to address your concerns.

Can HIV be treated or cured?

While HIV cannot be cured, it can be clinically managed in most cases.  Many healthy and productive years can be added to the lives of HIV infected people, but first comes knowledge, a sense of responsibility and the courage to face potential health issues in a straightforward manner.

Why Choose Early Detection by HIV DNA PCR?

The traditional HIV antibody test by ELISA technology is the most commonly used HIV screening method. The recommended waiting time for this test to be considered reliable is 3 months. In many cases, waiting this long to know your HIV status is not exactly ideal. For this reason many individuals are choosing early detection by PCR (polymerase chain reaction) technology. While ELISA is a widely used and well respected testing method, PCR technology has revolutionized science and medicine. The Nobel Prize winning technology achieves its high sensitivity by synthetically amplifying the target agent so it is then easily detected.

In the case of early HIV detection, another factor to consider is that the virus is there before the immune response. Therefore, a test looking directly for the virus (HIV DNA PCR) can be used much earlier than a test that is looking for the immune response to HIV (HIV ELISA antibody testing).  Direct viral detection for the earliest detection of HIV only makes sense.



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