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why do you say 6 months when everyone else says three for HIV testing????
Sep 21, 2006

sorry but why on earth would you say six months for testing, when everyone from the CDC to HIV specialist to Dr. Franscino would all say 3 months for a potential exposure and for a known HIV exposure test to six months. i know you will probably not answer this for everyone to see but come on six months is not the standard testing protocol anymore? do you agree?

Response from Dr. Daar

Thank you for your post. As I have mentioned in the past the majority of people who will seroconvert after an exposure to someone with HIV infection will do so within 12 weeks. However, to be sure it has been the CDC recommendation that follow-up testing be performed out to at least six months.

My comments are based upon what the CDC recommends for those with suspected exposure. This includes in their 2005 guidelines for nonoccupational exposure where it is stated:

Follow-up Testing and Care: All patients seeking care after HIV exposure should be tested for the presence of HIV antibodies at baseline and at 46 weeks, 3 months, and 6 months after exposure to determine whether HIV infection has occurred.

Similar recommendations from the CDC are noted for occupational exposures of health care personnel (HCP) in the 2005 guidelines:

Postexposure Testing HCP with occupational exposure to HIV should receive follow-up counseling, postexposure testing, and medical evaluation regardless of whether they receive PEP. HIV-antibody testing by enzyme immunoassay should be used to monitor HCP for seroconversion for >6 months after occupational HIV exposure. After baseline testing at the time of exposure, follow-up testing could be performed at 6 weeks, 12 weeks, and 6 months after exposure.

Both sets of guidelines can be readily accessed at: http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/Guidelines/

If one wanted to take it upon themselves to test for only 3 months after what they perceive to be a lower risk exposure that would be their decision and one they would hopefully made in consultation with an expert provider. It would be inappropriate for me to make such a general recommendation, particularly one that deviates from CDC guidelines, without specific infromaton regarding the type of exposure and who the exposure was to.

I hope this provides additional clarity.

Best, Eric


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