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How soon should we get tested for HIV after getting infected?

Sep 2012
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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2008
Answered : 1416 Questions
how soon can we get the HIV test done after the possible incidence of getting the infection. What is the quickest method with the minimum window period?
Posted Wed, 5 Dec 2012 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 24 minutes later
Thank you for your query.

Firstly, for HIV, window period is 6 months. That means it is the highest delay in production of infectious condition.

If you have any current history of exposure to any condition which may lead to HIV infection, go to ICTC of any hospital and consult about a postexposure prophylaxis. It is the only way to decrease the chance of infection. Take it seriously.

Now tests. Firstly, the conventional ELISA test for anti HIV1 &2 is done. But it is not reliable up to 6 months from the day of exposure.

Second test is p24 protein assay. It is the earliest test which definitely detects presence or absence of HIV. It should be done after 14 days of the day of exposure. So, it is the quickest test with minimum window period.

Third test which is the confirmatory test is DNA PCR. If these tests show negative result after 14 days of the day of exposure, the chance of getting infected is virtually zero. But theoretically, HIV may remain silent even upto 10 years. But in our clinical experience, 6 month is the ideal window period.

So, consult with ICTC department of any government hospital for post exposure prophylaxis if applicable and for ordering tests suitable for your condition.

Hope this information suffices. Let me know, if you have any more question.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: How soon should we get tested for HIV after getting infected? 47 hours later

Thanks for the queries.

Where can I find a ICTC center in Gurgaon and what are the costs of postexposure phrophylaxis treatment. Also I have read on the internet that it might be ineffective after 72 hours of exposure.

Also based on your previous answer should one go for p24 protein assay test or DNA PCR test, keeping in mind that both have a similar window period of 14 days.
Also which one would be more accurate? Can also give an idea about the typical costs of these tests?

Any other advise in this regard will be highly appreciated

Answered by Dr. Das Arindam 1 hour later
Thank you for writing back.
You can find ICTC center at any government hospital.
Now a days, 5 days time period is taken as cut off time period for postexposure prophylaxis.
If P24 protein assay becomes noncontributory, only then DNA PCR comes into picture.
DNA PCR is most accurate.
DNA PCR is most costly. But I do not know the exact cost.
Only advise is, if the cause of this discussion is due to sexual act, use precaution like condom in future.

Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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