How are HIV RNA assays used in the diagnosis of pediatric HIV infection?

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

HIV RNA assays are used to detect extracellular viral RNA in the plasma and are as sensitive as HIV DNA PCR for early diagnosis of HIV infection in exposed infants. However, nucleic acid amplification tests are not the preferred methods of diagnosis in infants perinatally exposed because they may falsely indicate low viral loads in individuals who are HIV negative. Also, whether antenatal treatment of the mother with combination antiretrovirals and/or antiretroviral prophylaxis in the infant affects the sensitivity of RNA assays is unknown.


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