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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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The Real Window Period
      #167002 - 12/14/05 02:30 PM

One major drawback of antibody tests is the "window" period: the time it takes the body to produce antibodies after infection has begun. The standard tests for HIV do not detect the virus itself, but the antibodies that the body produces in response. During the period before the antibodies are produced, a person can be infected with HIV and can infect others, but still test negative on the HIV antibody test.
For the first tests licensed, this window period ranged from six to 12 weeks, but improved technology has allowed the detection of lower levels of antibodies, making it possible to identify them earlier. "Currently used tests can detect HIV infection between three and five weeks in most individuals," Constantine says. "This is true of just about all of the ELISAs and the rapid tests [discussed further below]. Some tests are a little more consistent in detecting at the three week period, but in general they are all equivalent." To some degree, he explains, "it also depends on the individual (who may not produce antibodies as fast as another)."



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Anonymous
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Re: The Real Window Period new
      #167023 - 12/14/05 10:51 PM

That,s old news.

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MikeyUK
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Re: The Real Window Period new
      #167417 - 12/20/05 07:50 AM

- Two things here, in the UK they still quote the '3 month' window period when you go for a hiv test and dont actually provide the newer more sensitive 4/6 week elisa info (I think health workers may be trying to use this as a prevention method for the next time you may think about engaging in a risky activity) - also alot of places now perform the elisa 4th generation (ab/ab) test that looks for the protein of the virus aswell as the antibody (this shortens the window period even further) but health care workers dont tell you this - I actually asked what the 'ag' bit meant when I was given my resuls when I was told 'you are ag/ab' negative. The end game is for health workers to weigh up wether to risk telling you that there is a 90% chance of you being neg after the 4 window period and that you end up unfortunatley ending up in the 10% bracket or vice versa - Also on a different issue there is a now a case being taken against the government regarding accessibility to 'PEP' The Department of Health said there was little evidence that PEP was effective in cases other than "needle-stick" injuries to health care workers, but individual doctors could still prescribe the drugs. Surely the risk level would be reduced even further from unsafe sex than needle stick injuries so surely thats a bit of a stupid statement (check out: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/4541582.stm) anyway thats a bit an update of happening from the UK - Take care.



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Anonymous
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Re: The Real Window Period new
      #167505 - 12/21/05 01:25 AM

is this really true? which article are you referencing? I took an Oraquick blood prick test at 4 weeks. I still plan to get tested at the 3 month mark but if you've read something that suggests a negative at 4 weeks is a good sign, please let me and others know. Thank you.

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MikeyUk
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Re: The Real Window Period new
      #167607 - 12/22/05 09:38 AM

ELISA is a standard test which is used in Health Clinics here in the UK and possibly most of the US and is usally made by taking blood (via needle blood test) - ELISA stands for enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay which is slightly different than the oraquick/rapid tests and so the window period on oraquick/raid tests will be a little higher as this will probably be similar to the more older ELISA testing methods - but I think there is still different assumptions on the 'window period' which if you go to: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OraQuick - This sets the average window period at 22 days - this is also the same at the world health organisations site - http://www.who.int/diagnostics_laboratory/faq/window_period/en/ - which sets it at 14-21 days, Personally I think 4 weeks is a very good sign - but waiting 3 months would be more or less fully conclusive. If you wanted to know a little more about ELISA you can go to http://www.mb-bact.com/servlet/srt/bio/portail/dynPage?open=PRT_PRD_CLN_CTL&doc=PRT_PRD_CLN_CTL_G_PRD_36 - and this will explain the 4 different generation test and the so call 'window period' given for each.

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MikeyUK
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Re: The Real Window Period new
      #168756 - 01/05/06 05:47 AM

Hi im just responding to the last post about what Constantine a HIV Virologist defines as the 'window period' website address: http://www.ihv.org/news/hiv_test.html
The site explains about the new 'PCR' testing method that looks for the protein of the virus and so therefore reduces the window period - but even this quote has astonished me '

'The new approach has important implications for both HIV identification and treatment. Traditional testing methods detect HIV about 12 days after infection. Earlier detection could result not only in earlier diagnosis, but in an improved protection of the blood supply and more effective treatment options for patients' So now this guy has put the window period at 12 days I think this could be a question that Bob could perhaps answer cause even im lost now.

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