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A faster answer than 6 months?
Feb 2, 2009

If I have been infected with Hiv and i am one of the people who doesnt produce the antibody untill 6 months later can I just have a viral load test to see FOR SURE without a doubt if i have Hiv say 4-5 weeks(how long would I have to wait)after possible exposure. I think I read in one of ur responses that if your not producing the anitbody then your viral load will be "sky high"?I box and I dont want to wait 6 months to spar nor do I want to put anyone eles at risk.So (1) Can I just have a viral load test if and when my rapid test is negative. (2)How long would it take for a viral load to be detected. (3)If I had a viral load test done after a rapid test comes back negative would it be a FOR SURE 100% way to tell if I am + or not without waiting 6 months. I called the CDC and they said a viral load test is only for people who know they have hiv to see chances of developing AIDS or say let me do more research on it and they hang up. I plan to make a donation asap thank you for all your advice even if you dont answer.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

Why would you think you would be a person who wouldn't make antibodies until six months? Those folks are extremely rare and generally have a specific medical condition that accounts for this phenomenon.

I don't know what type of HIV exposure you may have had, but assuming it was "routine" (unprotected sex, broken condom, etc.), the recommendation is to have an HIV-antibody test at the three-month mark for a definitive result.

HIV plasma viral load tests are not designed for (or approved for) routine diagnostic screening, due to the rate of false-positive results, other technical considerations and cost. No one enjoys the three-month wait through the "window period" and we are working to find ways to shorten the duration of this period, but for now the recommendation stands. Certainly the best way to avoid this nerve-wracking dilemma in the future is to not put yourself at risk (use latex condoms for penetrative sex).

Thanks for your donation to the Robert James Frascino AIDS Foundation (www.concertedeffort.org).

Good luck. Be well!

Dr. Bob



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