HIV-1 DNA Blood Test, Qualitative, PCR
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is spread through exposure to infected blood and bodily fluids, primarily through sexual contact and the sharing of needles during intravenous drug use. HIV infections often show no symptoms. When symptoms do occur they are typically described as flu-like. HIV attacks the immune system by destroying T-cells. In time, HIV may lead to the development of AIDS. The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported that 1 in 4 people with HIV are not aware they are infected. Undiagnosed HIV cases threaten not only the person infected but everyone they may potentially spread the virus too. Testing for HIV can assist in early diagnosis and treatment. With effective treatment, people infected with HIV have a much-improved chance of living a normal lifespan.
HIV screening is recommended for anyone who is sexually active but especially those who engage in high-risk behaviors such as sexual contact with multiple partners and intravenous drug use. Anyone who learns that a past or present partner has tested positive for HIV should receive an HIV test themselves. Prenatal testing for HIV is recommended for pregnant women due to the risk of passing the infection to their baby. Early detection is key to effective HIV treatment, so it is advisable to be tested even if you are not experiencing symptoms.
HIV-1 DNA PCR is a sensitive method for detection of pro-viral DNA. It has been used in the management of perinatal HIV infection. HIV-1 RNA has recently been confirmed equally as sensitive and specific for this purpose. The qualitative PCR will look for the presence of the virus, but will not measure the amount that is found.
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