How is HIV DNA polymerase chain reaction (PCR) used in the diagnosis of HIV?

Updated: Mar 05, 2020
  • Author: Delia M Rivera, MD; Chief Editor: Russell W Steele, MD  more...
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Answer

HIV DNA PCR is used to detect HIV-1 provirus in mononuclear cells by using oligonucleotides directed at highly conserved regions of the viral genome. This test can be performed within 24 hours of infection and has a sensitivity and a specificity of 95% and 97%, respectively. Although it is more sensitive than viral culturing, the diagnostic performances of the 2 methods are equivalent.


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