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Questions about window period
Apr 22, 2013

Lisa: I had an exposure 5 months and a half ago. I took 4th generation tests at 6,12 and 22 weeks, all results negative and a viral load test by bDNA and a 3rd generation test at 15 weeks with undetectable viral load result and negative result the 3rd gen test. Do I need to retest at 6 months? Or are the results totally conclusive?

Response from Dr. Hightow-Weidman

Hello there The sensitivity of HIV testing has improved greatly over the past few years. Current antibody tests can pick up HIV infection earlier than prior tests and by 90 days practically all (97%) infections are detected by antibody testing alone the remainder turn positive by 180 days. Therefore, a negative HIV antibody test after 90 days means that infection was highly unlikely and a test that is negative at 180 days or beyond is considered conclusive for the absence of HIV infection. Even newer HIV tests look for the virus itself. These include assays such as HIV RNA tests (viral load) and p24 antigen tests. These become detectable within days of infection. So, an undetectable HIV RNA or p24 antigen test accompanied by a negative HIV antibody test at 90 days or beyond can also be considered conclusive for the absence of HIV infection. Hope this helps. take care, LHW



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