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Testing at 11 weeks (I know it's in the archives)
May 11, 2011

Hi Doc. After what you told me was a very low,only "theoretical risk" I took a P24 plus 4th generation antibody test at 3 weeks post exposure. Then I took another 4th generation AB test at 6 weeks. The thing is, I am just at 11 weeks exactly. I know the deal about the standard guidelines being 12 weeks, and also that if you say 11 weeks is ok then someone will write in asking about 10.5 weeks and so on. The thing is I have important exams this week and think I could perform better (or not as bad) if my mind was at ease. I know its up to me but could or should I be calm if my 11 week 4th generation test comes negative after a low risk (theoretical) exposure with a hooker of unknown status? Thanks.

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hi,

You're correct: it is in the archives! And you're also correct the current published guidelines state HIV-antibody tests taken prior to the three-month mark are not considered to be definitive. That said, you can also find in the archives information stating that the vast majority of HIVers will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in their blood within the first four to six weeks following infection. Consequently a negative 11-week test would be considered extremely encouraging, but not quite conclusive.

Stay tuned to The Body. I'm planning to blog about HIV-diagnostic testing soon.

Dr. Bob



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