How is pediatric HIV infection diagnosed?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Delia M Rivera, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Diagnosis of HIV infection in infants is aided by HIV culture or DNA/RNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR); positive results are confirmed by repeating the test. In suspected cases, HIV testing should occur in the newborn period (ie, before the infant is 48 h old), at age 1-2 months, and again at age 3-6 months. Testing at age 14 days may allow for earlier detection of HIV in infants who had negative test results within the first 48 hours of life. By approximately age 1 month, PCR testing has a 96% sensitivity and 99% specificity to identify HIV.

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