Is the HIV DNA PCR Panel Best for Early Detection?

Q: I recently found out that I might have been exposed to HIV. I had unprotected sex with someone that was diagnosed as HIV positive. I’m very worried and scared right now. Can you please advise me on which type of HIV testing I need? My exposure was only about 6 weeks ago, so I need something made for early detection. Is your HIV DNA PCR panel test the best option? Is there another option that would be better? I just want to know my results as soon as possible – I don’t want to wait.

M. Neiferman
San Francisco, CA

A: For your situation a HIV DNA PCR is most likely the best option. The PCR can cost more than the traditional antibody testing, but it can provide conclusive results for anything more than 28 days ago. If cost is a concern for you, you might consider doing an antibody test now and then retesting later. At 6 weeks post-exposure, an antibody test can provide extremely reliable results, and a 12 week follow up antibody test would give you conclusive results.

Either route you decide to take the testing process is simple. Simply call our office to receive a registration number, go to the private collection site to submit a blood sample, and then receive your results in a matter of days. All of our testing is private and laboratory based. We will discuss your concerns and help you figure out which testing is best for you. Please call our office if you have questions or would like to arrange for testing.