What are the recommendations for diagnosing pediatric HIV infection?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Delia M Rivera, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Detection of antibody to HIV is the usual first step in diagnosing HIV infection. The 2010 Panel on Antiretroviral Therapy and Medical Management of HIV-Infected Children [3] recommendations for diagnosing infants include the following:

  • Because of the persistence of the maternal HIV antibody, infants younger than 18 months require virologic assays that directly detect HIV in order to diagnose HIV infection

  • Preferred virologic assays include HIV bDNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and HIV RNA assays. The HIV PCR DNA qualitative test is usually less expensive.

  • Further virologic testing in infants with known perinatal HIV exposure is recommended at 2 weeks, 4 weeks, and 4 months

An antibody test to document seroreversion to HIV antibody–negative status in uninfected infants is no longer recommended.

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