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Can PEP make HIV-1 RNA PCR detection test false negative?

I had vaginal sex with a sex worker without condom 15 days ago. Next day i took her for hiv antibody test and it was negative. I also tested negative for HIV. then i started taking PEP on doctor's advice from that day. i got HIV-1 rna pcr qualitative test done on 11th day after exposure and it was negative. then I got HIV-1 RNA PCR quantitative blood test done on 13th day after exposure and it was also negative. in fact as per the lab, test could detect even less than 20 copies/ml and as per my report, no HIV-1 RNA virus was detected in my blood. I am still continuing PEP. today is 15th day after exposure i heard pep can affect the hiv-1 rna test also. is that true? but if i was really infected with HIV, shouldn't the HIV-1 RNA PCR test have detected atleast 1 or 2 copies of HIV-1 virus? please clarify. i want to stop pep based on your clarification as it can cause serious side effects. Appreciate your help
1 Responses
370181 tn?1595629445
Yes, PEP can affect PCR test results. PEP is a combination of antiretroviral drugs used in exactly the same dosage that is used to treat active HIV infection. Therefore, these drugs CAN inhibit HIV replication and drive HIV plasma viral load (PCR RNA) down to undetectable levels, thereby giving a "false negative" result if PCR RNA testing was being used for diagnostic purposes. This problem comes up fairly frequently. It's another reason I recommend all folks who have had an HIV exposure significant enough to warrant a course of PEP be followed by an HIV specialist physician. HIV specialists understand the limitations of HIV-related tests and are best at managing all issues related to PEP and HIV testing and at evaluating symptoms that may arise during PEP.
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