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Who takes longer than 3 months??
Nov 26, 2012

Hello, I have read post after post on this site and others and am still very confused and anxious about the window period. Some say 3 months is conclusive, others say 6, the CDC says 3, but 3% take longer-up to 6 months. This is ridiculous for those of us who want to know our true status and move forward from a potential exposure (mine was protected vaginal sex, but the condom slipped off during withdrawal and I don't know if semen spilled inside me). The anxiety I am experiencing is unbelievable and I would have never imagined all of the discrepancy that is out there regarding testing. Even on this site, most say 3 months is conclusive, but every once in a while the whole 97% test positive by 3 months, but "some take longer" up until 6 months answer pops up.

So, please help me, who are those people that take longer to develop antibodies? Why do they take longer? I am a healthy female, but do have Grave's Disease and Pernicious Anemia. I also have high risk HPV that didn't clear on it's own initially requiring LEEP. Does that mean my immune system is impaired?Am I one of those that needs to test again at 6 months? I have several negative oral and blood rapid tests out to 16 weeks.

Please help me to understand. Thank you.

Response from Ms. Southall

Hi The window period can be very confusing. The testing time is initially at 3 weeks then again at 3 months.

The 3 month window period is normal for most of the population. Many people will have detectable antibodies in three or four weeks. Very, very rarely (i.e., only a few cases ever), a person could take six months to produce antibodies. The window period (the time you need to wait to get an accurate test) is generally 3 months. We sometimes recommend testing again at 6 months if the contact was very risky and it involved a person known to be HIV+.

Sensitivity of testing has changed a lot over the years, it used to be testing for a year and then 6 months and now 3 months. There are studies going on now on creating a more sensitive test that can take it to a month.

I hope this helps, Be well and stay safe, Shannon



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