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Re Acute HIV recent answer
Jan 23, 2003

Dear Dr, I noted with interest a very recent question where the individual was in the acure HIV stage but had tested antibody negative, please explain how common this is, as I have had a negative test at 12 weeks but still feel uncomfortable with my physical condition so intent getting tested again at 6 months, I was not aware that even if you test negative you could still have the virus, clearly this has made me very scared, please can you clarify, I am sure others would also benefit from your response.

Thanks.

Response from Dr. Wohl

The HIV antibody tests have come along way. It used to be that you had to wait 3 to 6 months after infection for the HIV antibodies to be detected with older tests. Now tests that are used in the US, most of western Europe and Australia can detect HIV antibodies within several weeks (3 to 6) following infection.

So on the one hand, yes, people can be HIV infected and not have antibodies during the few short weeks following infection and before the body makes antibodies and the current tests pick them up. But again, this is on the order of 3 to 6 weeks or so, not longer. DW



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