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Antibody production and timeframe
Dec 20, 2002

Ryan, I know that it can take up to 6 mos. to have enough antibodies to be detected -- However, once present, how long are the antibodies detectable? Forever? Please clarify. Thank you very much for this awesome service.

Response from Mr. Kull

Once you are antibody positive for HIV infection, you remain antibody positive. The majority of people will develop detectable antibodies in one month; it is extremely rare for a person to seroconvert after three months.

There are rare exceptions of seroreversion (going from antibody positive to negative). The only times that seroreversion might happen is in an infant of an infected mother, when someone is in the late stage of infection (AIDS), or after prolonged treatment with antiviral medications. An uninfected infant may retain the antibodies of the mother in its bloodstream for up to 18 months yet remain uninfected. In the other two cases, which have been minimally documented, there is an assumption that HIV infection is determined through the presence of opportunistic infections (someone with AIDS would have to be extremely sick to serorevert) or previous diagnosis of infection through antibody or other testing means.

RMK



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