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Outdated statistics??
Feb 23, 2007

Dr Young,

Unlike most doctors on this site you seem to stick to a 6 month window period...why? I have been told in 4 separate UK GUM clinics that the window period is 3 months. In the last ten years in the UK not one person has taken longer than 3 months, and the last documented late seroconversions in the US occured in 1995 and 96 which blows away the supposed 99% seroconversion rate at 3 months (if one HIV infected person in a hundred converted late, this figure would be around 50 per year in the UK alone).

Why do you persist with this outdated figure of 6 months which no longer corresponds with any up to date data...is this just a cover your ass policy or do you know something no GUM clinic in the UK does? Is every single clinic in the UK and Europe misleading its patients?

Response from Dr. Young

Whoa, why the venom? Are you asserting that UK and US government policies should be in lock step with one another? They aren't-- take a look at HIV treatment guidelines over the years and you'd find plenty of dissagreement in specifics, but agreement in general terms. Oh, and yes, Tony Blair and George Bush actually don't agree either on troop withdrawal from Iraq.

The notion of estimating the window period is one of statistics and guidelines. It may very well be that the UK groups use a 3 month period-- the last US-based Centers for Disease Control outline the same notion, that most persons will seroconvert within 3 months of exposure. Indeed most persons seroconvert within 1 month.

The problem is that there are well documented (but quite rare) cases of seroconversion after 3 months-- Since you impugn my credibility (which is fine), here's the primary citation in a peer-reviewed scientific journal: Ciesielski CA and Metler RP. Duration of Time Between Exposure and Seroconversion in Healthcare Workers With Occupationally Acquired Infection with HIV. American Journal of Medicine, May 19, 1997; 102(5) Supplement B.

This a six month timeline is admittedly a conservative view- it's simply the one that my goverment uses, perhaps influenced by the overpopulation of plaintiff attorneys on this side of the pond. For me, it simply reflects the wish not to see persons but themselves at unnecessary risk of getting HIV.

Just my 2 pence. BY



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