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Laboratory Diagnosis of HIV Infection

HIV Markers During Early Infection

Slide 2

October 2009

First, let’s review the virologic and serologic course of an individual who is infected with HIV. Here, from this graph, you see that the first marker that becomes detectable after infection is the HIV RNA, indicated by the green line. This is detectable by current molecular methods at about 11 days from the time of infection or exposure to HIV.

The second marker that becomes detectable in the laboratory is the HIV p24 antigen, indicated in the purple line. This is detectable by day 16 from exposure. And finally, the HIV antibodies that are detectable by current commercial assays occur at about day 22 from the date of infection. So the most widely used serologic tests, which are HIV antibody screening tests, are actually the least sensitive in picking up HIV infection compared to the other 2 markers.

HIV Markers


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