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Passing virus before confirmation
Apr 1, 2002

If you have had unprotected sex, and are not sure if that person had HIV, can you pass the (virus?) to another person before it is confirmed that you contracted the virus?

Response from Mr. Kull

It is possible to transmit HIV to another person before one knows that they are infected with HIV. There is a period from infection to the development of antibodies that is referred to as the window period; an infected person may not know that they have HIV because antibody tests will be negative during this window period. It is not clear how long after infection one will be able to transmit HIV (some estimates are at about one week after infection), but viral levels are very high just around the time of seroconversion which would increase the likelihood of transmission.

RMK



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