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-its 2001, not 1987 no more -!!! testing conclusive under 3 months, will it ever be????!!!! it's human torture to wait that long!???
Jun 27, 2011

My Dearest Dr. Bob,

I apologize for the title, I realize that having to live with the virus on a daily basis is FAR FAR MORE CHALLENGING that simply having to sit 3 months to test to test out. And I commend you and compliment you in your fight against this dreaded pandemic!!! It just seems absurd that in 2011, normal testing guidelines still require anyone to wait out a minimum of 3 months from their last exposure to know definitely their HIV STATUS. That time period causes people to feel guilty, mope, be able to get nothing done, have suicidal thoughts, etc. I'm sure people in this situation would much rather pay whatever amount of dollars after 7 days or 14 days to test via DNA PCR, RNA PCR, NAAT TESTING, or P24 antigen to rule out hiv. It also would be most useful in screening to prevent infection to other people (not to further transmit the virus).

I for one, am now planted here 7 days post exposure, feeling helpless - i rather know now (so i can do preventive actions) then wait another 2 months - and then they will tell me at 3 months well (you really should wait and test out 6 months or 1 year) to know definitely - what a waste of time and life - it's insane to have to wait soooo long!!!!

Why can't i get tested with DNA PCR or something else now, that will give me a peace of mind result, im willing to pay whatever, just SO I CAN SLEEEP AT NIGHT.

are the testing guidelines ever going to change, and when ?????(it's 2011) not 1987 no longer - why cant they employ testing that tells you 7 days after exposure definitely.???????????????

Its time for a change.

Wishing you best health and many wonderful years ahead.

Rossi

Response from Dr. Frascino

Hello, Rossi.

I was amused by your title "It's 2001, not 1987 no more!!!" 2001???? Hmm. Is Rossi a nickname for Rip Van Winkle perhaps?

I agree the window period is indeed frustrating. HIV testing technology has been improving (third- and fourth-generation HIV-antibody tests, NAAT testing, PCR, etc.); however, the formal testing guidelines have not changed. I'm writing a blog on this topic that will be posted on The Body's blog page sometime soon. The problem is not people being willing to pay more for a test to get a definitive answer sooner, but rather limitations of the tests themselves. PCR technology has too many false-positive results (this can really scare the bejesus out of someone) and is not available everywhere. HIV-antibody testing is dependent on the person's immune system making detectable levels of specific anti-HIV antibody. The immune response is not identical in every person for a wide variety of reasons (age, concurrent illnesses, medications, etc.). There is also concern about possibly missing a true positive if the window is shortened. Consequently testing guidelines err on the conservative side in an effort not to miss someone who is infected, but perhaps slow to produce antibodies (for whatever reason).

Rossi, I should also point out that this is indeed 2011, not 1987, so why are people still putting themselves at risk for HIV??? That's the real question!

Dr. Bob



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