Is the HIV DNA PCR Test the Best Option?

Q: I recently discovered that my 16-year-old daughter is sexually active. I am concerned about STDs, especially HIV. She has not been active for very long, only about two months. I have been reading about your HIV DNA PCR test. Is it accurate enough for the early detection of HIV, even if her possible exposure was only two months ago? I really need to put my mind at ease, as well as her mind. Is this particular test the best option for her? What other STD screenings do you recommend? I just want to make sure my daughter is healthy.

M. Salina
Muskogee, OK

A: The HIV DNA PCR is a great way to get a conclusive HIV result without waiting 3 months for an antibody test. The test is considered conclusive for anything more than 28 days ago. While HIV is what most people are primarily concerned about, it is important to test for other STDs as well. Common STDs like Chlamydia and gonorrhea can be tested for around a week after exposure. Blood tests for other STDs, including HIV, herpes, hepatitis B, and syphilis, can be taken 6-12 weeks after exposure for reliable results.

We do offer a panel that checks for all the STDs mentioned earlier, and the testing process is very easy. Often times the collection can be done the same day you call, and results are returned within a few business days. If you or your daughter have other questions or would like to arrange for testing, please call our office to speak with a counselor at your convenience. We can discuss her risk and help her decide what tests are needed, as well as figure out when the best time for her to test is.