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CDC Hotline has officially changed its window period to 3 months
Jul 9, 2003

Dear Dr. Wohl,

I hope you will post this along with your comments.

People in this forum and others get all worked up about the window period. Is it 3 months or 6 months? Most people on say that the window period is 3 months. But when people would call the CDC hotline, they would be told that a 3 month test is a good indicator test, but that everyone should be tested again at 6 months for a conclusive test. Of course this has always raised the question of which answer to believe.

I have great news for you all my worried well friends. The CDC hotline has said that they have officially changed their testing recommendations. I was told this by two separate hotline operators. Here is what they told me when I most recently called on 7/3/03.

"The average time to develop antibodies is 25 days. But because some people take longer than 25 days, we recommend a final follow up test at 3 months to verify your status. The 3 month test is considered conclusive. We know that at least 95 of infected people will have a positive test by 3 months. If you were exposed to someone who is known to be HIV positive, you might consider retesting at 6 months, but we leave it up to you."

Basically, the CDC hotline is now telling people that call the hotline that you can get a conclusive test at 3 months. They still say you could test at 6 months, but they are no longer recommending that everyone get tested at 6 months. They also give percentages of people converting by 3 months, information they would not give out before. This is the information that we have been waiting to hear for quite some time and is consistent with what most doctors on have been saying for some time. Furthermore, this is exactly what their document "Guidelines for the Treatment of Sexually Transmitted Diseases", which was published in November 2001.

Go ahead and call them and see for yourself. This should give a boost of confidence to all the WW brethren.

Best wishes,


Response from Dr. Wohl

Thanks, Jim for this uodate. DW

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