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Why PEP affects the window period?

Jun 20, 2008

Hi Dr. Bob! I have noticed that when somebody ask you about the window period or the reliability of a ELISA after 3 months you say is ok, but if this person took the PEP, a 3 months negative is a extremely encouraging finding but not conclusive until the 6 months negative result. Or is it because to justify a PEP risk is much higher and must wait 6 months for a conclusive result? Does a PEP affects the reliability off an antibody test? In advance thank you very much! Andres.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello Andres,

PEP should only be recommended for individuals who have had a very significant HIV exposure. The CDC recommends an additional HIV test at the six-month mark in addition to the usual three-month test for folks who have had a significant HIV exposure. The published guidelines for PEP and nPEP (non-occupational post-exposure prophylaxis) recommend post-PEP HIV testing at both three and six months. You can download a copy of the recommendations at

Hopefully this clears up any confusion in my responses.

Dr. Bob

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