Q. Does negative HIV 2 DNA and RNA PCR tests three months after exposure mean I am safe?

Answered by
Dr. Kiran Anaparthi
and medically reviewed by Dr. Divya Banu M

Hi doctor,

Do you have any experience in HIV 2? I have done my HIV 2 DNA/RNA PCR test and antibody test which came back both negative after three months. What I am worried is HIV 2 is a slowly replicating virus and worry that HIV 2 DNA/RNA PCR test cannot pick up even after three months. Is it true? Am I negative for HIV 2 if both tests comes negative after three months of exposure? Please advise.

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Dr. Kiran Anaparthi

Family Physician HIV/AIDS Specialist


Welcome to icliniq.com.

The replication of the virus has no relationship in the detection of the virus. If the virus is present in the body, the immune system will detect it, and start defending the body by producing antibodies. This procedure does not need any replication of the virus. It just needs a virus in the body.

So, if the fourth-generation test is negative by three months and six months, then you are negative. No need to worry about them.

Thank you doctor,

I am more worried about the pick up of PCR. What is the window period for HIV 2 DNA, RNA PCR tests?

Dr. Kiran Anaparthi

Family Physician HIV/AIDS Specialist


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

PCR test is quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative tests are used to monitor treatment. It measures, copies of virus present in the body per ml. If you get tested for qualitative PCR, it detects the presence of at least a single particle of the virus.

So, most times DNA PCR detects qualitative test, and it can detect HIV as early as seven days after possible infection. So, a test during the third month can conveniently rule out HIV 2 infection and no relationship on the growth potential of the virus because it can detect just a single copy of the virus.

HIV 1 grows by 10⁴ copies per ml of blood by three weeks and HIV 2 grows by 10³ copies per ml of blood. HIV 2 differed by secondary replication that is it follows the normal pattern of growth and replication initially along with HIV 1 but after six months, the growth will be reduced but by then both antigens and antibody tests will be conclusive. So, finally, you are negative for HIV 2. Consider being conclusive.

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