HIV Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) Ribonucleic acid (RNA) testing is a clever process that amplifies the genetic material of HIV from a few copies to several orders of magnitude. In essence it is the same as a viral load test.
Therefore even a few copies of the virus can be multiplied to provide an accurate result.
Since this test looks at the genetic material (and hence the virus directly) the test is very accurate from an early stage, with average testing leading to conclusive results as early as day 10 after an exposure.
Results will either show a number, indicating the number of viral copies per measure of blood or it will state ‘undetectable’ meaning an absence of HIV or the level is so low that it cannot be found (such as for those already on HIV suppression medication).
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