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HIV antibody tests unreliable for early infections in teens.

HIV antibody tests unreliable for early infections in teens. The most commonly used rapid HIV test often results in a false-negative during the earliest and most contagious stages of HIV infection, known as acute retroviral syndrome, or ARS, according to a pediatric infectious-disease specialist at Johns Hopkins Children's Center. Because the rapid HIV screening tests are designed to detect antibodies to the virus, not the virus itself, the tests will only pick up infection in those who have developed antibodies, which most people do not make until several weeks to several months after infection. To rule out HIV in teens deemed to be at high risk for sexually transmitted infections, Johns Hopkins HIV experts recommend the use of polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests, which directly detect the virus' genetic markers--rather than antibodies to the virus--within two to three weeks after the virus enters the body.
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Title Annotation:HIV/AIDS
Publication:Medical Laboratory Observer
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Aug 1, 2009
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