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Misleading Information
Dec 26, 2012

I would like this response from an M.D.

My exposure was July 14th, 2012, after that I had many symptoms similar to HIV. I then began testing like crazy, one almost every month until November 6th when I my physician ordered my last test. I questioned her on the window period, which she explained that anti-bodies can appear within 2-8 weeks. I only question whether my 16 week test is conclusive? I'm so tired of getting information from different sources, and I'm tired of worrying.

Just FYI - I read a blog on TheBody where a person claims their physician said that they should re-test at six months. This information seems confusing. Then I'm hearing that in certain cases you should test at 6 months if you have a weak immune system or your undergoing chemo. The CDC mentions nothing about this.

Someone please give me a final answer so I can put this to rest.

Response from Dr. Wohl

Modern day HIV testing conducted in resource rich nations such as the US are much better at detection of HIV than older versions of the HIV antibody assays. This has led to a shorter time window between infection and detection of HIV antibodies.

By 12 weeks practically everyone who will seroconvert (go from negative to positive) will do so. I am unaware of conditions that would interfere with this result.

Additionally, we now have other tests that look for the virus itself. These include viral load (HIV RNA PCR) and the p24 antigen (which detects a protein on the surface of the virus). These tests become positive within days of infection. Again, nothing I know of should interfere with this result.

Therefore, someone anxious about infection with a negative antibody test at 12 weeks or greater can rest assured they are uninfected. If they remain unconvinced, a viral load or p24 antigen can be done to prove there is no virus present.

DW



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