A Test: You are about to have sex with someone with a negative PCR DNA test, does he have HIV?
If you answered no would you be surprised to learn that he was determined to be HIV positve over ten years ago? His name? Magic Johnson.
He tests POSITIVE when tested by the ELISA test, the one that AIM says is inaccurate. Which would YOU prefer?
AIM is Lying to you, Plain and Simple:
In a recent Press Release AIM has this to say; “Monthly certified counseling and HIV by PCR DNA Screening … HIV ELISA testing is not recommended for this population due to its 6 month window period. ELISA testing puts this community at great risk for infection and the spread of the virus. This includes any type of rapid test”
Here is what the AIDS Foundation has to say about all of this. The site is http://www.sfaf.org I encourage you read it.
The “window period” is the time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to seroconvert (test positive) for HIV antibodies. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says about the window period:”Antibodies generally appear within three months after infection with HIV, but may take up to six months in some persons.”This CDC definition of a three to six month window period has been commonly used for a number of years and is most often used.
What does this mean for you?
The three month window period is normal for most of the population. Many people will have detectable antibodies in three or four weeks. Very, very rarely (i.e., only a few cases ever), a person could take six months to produce antibodies.
Viral Load Test: Overview
Viral load tests allow physicians to track with greater accuracy than ever before the progression of HIV in the body — thus helping their HIV-infected patients make choices about appropriate treatment strategies. The viral load test is only appropriate for a few specific situations, described below. Most people concerned about HIV do not need viral load testing. The antibody test is still the cheapest, easiest, and overall most reliable way for individuals to learn their HIV status.
There are two kinds of viral load tests. They both measure the amount of HIV RNA in a sample. (RNA is the “blueprint” that HIV uses to make more virus.) When comparing viral load test results to determine a trend, the same type of test must be used each time. It is otherwise like trying to compare the proverbial “apples” with “oranges.”
One test, called the branched-chain DNA test (bDNA), is made by a company called Chiron (pronounced KAI-ron). The reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction or RT-PCR (commonly called the PCR) test is made by Roche (pronounced RO-sh).
“Accuracy” Of Viral Load Test
Viral load testing is extraordinarily sensitive, but it is not perfect. The most sensitive viral tests can only detect 40 or more viral particles per milliliter in a sample. It is therefore false to assume that an “undetectable viral load” means there is “no HIV present.” A person with “undetectable viral load” can indeed transmit the virus to someone else.
When Is Viral Load Testing Inappropriate?
The vast majority of people concerned about HIV infection do not need viral load testing. In nearly all cases, this is not a test we recommend for assessing one’s HIV status.
Why shouldn’t someone use a PCR test to get quicker HIV test results?
Answer: Because the test was not designed for that purpose, it could easily report either false positive or false negative, it is much more expensive than antibody testing (and not covered by insurance for this purpose), it is confidential, rather than anonymous testing, and any PCR result must be followed by an antibody test after the appropriate interval in order to be meaningful.
Can someone get a PCR test to diagnose HIV faster than antibody screening?
Answer: Yes, if they are willing to pay for it. But:
Does it give them a true report of their HIV status?
Answer: NO! They will still need an antibody test later, after waiting through the window period.
On the other side of the scale, it is well known that there are many HIV positive people who have “undetectable” viral load thanks to protease inhibitors. So false negative results are also quite possible if PCR is relied upon to make a diagnosis for HIV. Viral load testing is extraordinarily sensitive, but it is not perfect. The most sensitive viral tests can only detect 40 or more viral particles per milliliter in a sample. It is therefore false to assume that an “undetectable viral load” means there is “no HIV present.” A person with “undetectable viral load” can indeed transmit the virus to someone else.
It is becoming increasingly apparent to me that the agenda of AIM is profit, plain and simple AIM makes more money for applying the PCR test than they do for applying the ELISA.