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J Infect Dis. 1990 Mar;161(3):436-9.

Detection of human immunodeficiency virus DNA using the polymerase chain reaction in a well-characterized group of homosexual and bisexual men.

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Department of Public Health, AIDS Office, San Francisco, CA 94102.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) DNA was performed on specimens from 197 homosexual and bisexual men enrolled in studies of HIV-1 infection. Thirty cycles of amplification were conducted, followed by detection with probes corresponding to two gag primer pairs (SK 38/39 and SK 101/145). Of 107 men who were HIV-1 antibody-negative, 105 (98%) were PCR-negative. Two who were initially PCR-positive antibody-negative were PCR- and antibody-negative on repeat testing of both the same specimen and specimens drawn 8-10 months later; this suggests that the first PCR results were false-positive. Of 90 men who were antibody-positive, PCR was positive in 87 (97%), including all 13 with AIDS, all 22 with AIDS-related conditions, all 11 with generalized lymphadenopathy only, and 41 (93%) of 44 without signs or symptoms of HIV-1 infection. On repeat testing, all 3 PCR-negative, antibody-positive men were PCR-positive. In this population and with this technique, PCR had excellent agreement with the HIV-1 antibody test.

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