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What is the window period for HIV test?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 3094 Questions
I had protected sex but he took condom off and i stopped and not finish. He took rapid test 3 days later that i asked him to do tested negative. I have not had sex with anyone for 6 months before him and i had a test 4 months before him and 2 weeks before him tested negative. I also took another test 38 days after our encounter. Should i do another test? Our encounter was December 14. He took test December 17 negative. I took test in September 10 negative and then December 2 negative no sex during this time i tested so i when i meet someone they will no my status . I hear about window period im confused. Please help thank you
Posted Wed, 19 Feb 2014 in HIV and AIDS
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 55 minutes later
Brief Answer: Another test, other options exist, Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for the query, The window period means a period of time where even if one is infected, the person tests negative with the normal or usual tests used. The tests used generally detect, not the virus itself, but antibodies produced against the virus. early during the infection, the amount of antibodies produced is generally too little to be detected by the test. One has the virus but tests negative, this is the window period. At first, the window period was three months with the older tests, but today, with the new tests, even infections of a few weeks old can be detected. I understand you have had to do numerous tests. However, it is still reasonable for you to get another HIV test for one main reason: you can never be a hundred percent sure that your partner has not had unprotected or a risky sexual exposure along the line. More sensitive tests like Anti gen P24 and PCR (polymerase chain reaction) detection tests, could give very sensitive results, even if the infection is a few weeks old. This test is however relatively more expensive. In case you are not exposed to these tests, you could still do the normal test. In case its negative, you make sure you stay safe, no unprotected sex or risky behavior, and get a last confirmatory screening test after a month. Thanks and kind regards and hope this helps. Please, do feel free asking follow up questions in case you got any specific concerns. DR Bain
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: What is the window period for HIV test? 32 minutes later
Ok thanks if i decided to take another test between February 17 and 28 and negative no new exposure will i need to still wait until actual 12 week mark for to be conclusive. The reason i asked is because another health provider told me i do not need no further testing because two negative cannot make positive especially if i had not been with him anymore.
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 2 hours later
Brief Answer: Thanks too. Detailed Answer: Thanks and kind regards. I believe to be pretty sure, its reasonable to get the test done within the timelines you have chosen. wishing you the best of health. Dr Bain
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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