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HELP ! Home Access, confusing statement
Feb 15, 2002

I had unprotected sex, I am female and had vaginal sex with a male. I have taken the home access test at 4, 9 and 12 weeks. On 02-15-02 I contacted Home Access and inquired about what generation test they were using and they said 1st generation. They also stated that a test should be done at 6 months not 3. So if the Elisa at any generation is accurate after 3 months, why is there a need to test again, confused? I was relieved to find that I had tested neg. at 3 months and am starting to get the whole anxiety over again since speaking with home access. Help Please.

Response from Mr. Kull

Not everyone is going to have the same opinion about the window period, and the reasons for Home Access' statement are not for me to judge. Based on your results and your risk history, it is extremely unlikely that you are infected. 1st generation testing is not the most up-to-date technology, so it is not likely to detect infection as early as the newer generation assays. However, scientific literature suggests that 1st generation assays are likely to detect antibodies 6 to 12 weeks after exposure (three months), though they are not fine tuned to pick up rarer subtypes of HIV (infection with these subtypes is unlikely in the U.S.). If you would like more up-to-date testing, get a blood test through a clinic or a private physician.

Professional opinion will vary to certain degrees when determining the window period on the HIV antibody test. HIV experts will base their judgements on clinical experience, available technology, research, organizational guidelines, and other factors. It is important that you have a basic understanding of how the antibody tests work, listen to professionals that you trust, and do what works for you.

Have you considered free testing through a Dept. of Health near you? That would save you some money. Also, one test at three months following exposure is sufficient, and multiple tests within the window period are unecessary.

RMK



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