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PVS
Guru

Reged: 09/19/00
Posts: 280
Another link to share:
      #13091 - 12/01/00 01:22 PM

I was cleaning out old favorites from my web browser and stumbled upon one of the links I bookmarked during the height of my HIV anxiety window period..hehe...I'd like to share this with everyone and hope you can take comfort in it. == PVS

Update on the Window Period for HIV Infection
New York State and New York City Joint Recommendations for HIV Testing and Re-testing

What is the Window Period?

The window period is the length of time after infection that it takes for a person to develop enough specific antibodies to be detected by our current testing methods. If an individual engages in unsafe sex or shares drug injection equipment and becomes infected, the body will make antibodies to fight HIV. When enough antibodies are developed, the HIV antibody test will come back positive. Each person’s body responds to HIV infection a little differently, so the window period varies slightly from person to person. HIV is most commonly diagnosed in adolescents and adults through HIV antibody testing. However, there are also tests that diagnose HIV infection by detecting certain parts of the genetic material of HIV. PCR (polymerase chain reaction) tests are used to diagnose HIV infection in infants. Viral culture may also be performed in certain circumstances to diagnose HIV.

How Has Our Understanding of the Window Period Changed Over the Years?

Early in the epidemic, our testing methods were not as sensitive as they are today. Doctors and public health officials wanted to make sure that people who engaged in risk behaviors for HIV were tested long enough after their risk to be sure that anyone who was actually infected would test positive. The Centers for Disease Control currently states that people with possible exposure to HIV, who test negative, should be re-tested six months after the possible exposure to ensure that sufficient time has elapsed to make antibodies. However, as early as 1990, the Association of State and Territorial Public Health Laboratory Directors reached a consensus recommendation that virtually all seroconversions are complete within twelve weeks of exposure. Improvements in HIV testing technology over the last fifteen years, increasing laboratory experience with testing and the ability to better monitor early infection through PCR testing have contributed greatly to our understanding of the window period and have provided increased confidence that virtually all cases of HIV infection can be detected by three months.

What is the best time for the first HIV test after a possible exposure to HIV?

Most people infected with HIV will develop enough antibodies to be detected by our current HIV antibody tests four weeks after the exposure. This means that, for example, if a person had unsafe sex and became infected on January 1, it is likely that he/she will have enough antibodies to test positive four weeks later. If the person tests positive, this early testing is beneficial because the person can begin receiving medical care very early in the course of the infection. Recent advances in care and treatment for HIV infection have increased the advantages of early identification and treatment. Therefore, especially when HIV infection is highly suspected, it is often beneficial for the first HIV test to take place four weeks after an exposure. In cases of occupational exposure or exposure through sexual assault, an HIV test is also recommended immediately after the exposure to establish baseline HIV status, followed by another HIV test one month after the exposure (see MMWR 8/15/96 for details of CDC recommendations).

How long after a possible exposure to HIV does the person have to wait to be tested to be sure he/she is not infected?

It is possible that someone who tests negative four weeks after an exposure may be infected but his/her body has not had sufficient time to develop antibodies. Therefore, to rule out HIV infection, it is important to re-test three months after the exposure. It is extremely rare for an HIV-infected individual to not develop antibodies by three months. An individual who tests negative three months after an exposure does not require further testing unless he/she may have repeated exposures or if their antibody test results are incompatible with their clinical history.




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AnomJS
Grand Master

Reged: 11/05/00
Posts: 154
Re: Another link to share: new
      #13093 - 12/01/00 01:54 PM

AHHHHH. PVS my lady, Constantly making JS feel good. What a great post!!!! Take notice everyone. This is good information to help people understand how sensitive the new tests are. GOD BLESS.

JS<><



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