Best Test for HIV?

Q: I recently had a test done, but I want to be a hundred percent sure that my results are accurate. What is the best blood test for the HIV virus?

A: There are multiple tests that can be used to test for HIV, and depending on your situation one test may be better than another. The traditional test is an HIV antibody test. The test is considered conclusive for anything more than twelve weeks ago. This test is not ideal if you’ve had a recent exposure, or if you do not produce antibodies at a normal rate. For example, a person who is undergoing chemotherapy will often have a suppressed immune system which prevents them from developing antibodies normally. If you believe that you may not have a normal immune system or if you’ve had a recent exposure to the virus, you might consider an HIV DNA PCR test. The PCR is considered conclusive after 28 days, and is reliable even earlier than that. Rather than detecting your body’s response to the virus, the PCR essentially looks for the virus itself. It is a great option if you’ve had a recent exposure to HIV and don’t want to wait 12 weeks for an antibody test. Feel free to contact our office if you have any questions or would like more information about your testing options.