The Body: The Complete HIV/AIDS Resource
Follow Us Follow Us on Facebook Follow Us on Twitter Download Our App 
Professionals >> Visit The Body PROThe Body en Espanol

HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

Pages: 1

Info from NYC dept of health? Is 4 weeks suffice?
      #218705 - 12/18/06 08:11 PM

How soon after exposure can HIV infection be detected?
With the HIV antibody tests used in New York State, virtually all people who are infected will test positive within one month of being infected. Most people will test positive even sooner.

The period between the time of infection and the time that a HIV antibody test can detect the infection is called the window period. During the window period, an infected person does have HIV and can pass HIV to other people, even if his or her HIV antibody test is negative.

So, if you HIV antibody test is negative, you can be sure that you do not have HIV only if you have not engaged in any HIV risk behaviors (such as having unprotected sex or sharing needles) during the past three months.

A PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test looks for HIV directly instead of detecting antibodies. This test can find HIV infection as soon as the person is infected. It is usually used to find HIV infection in newborns. A different type of PCR test, called a viral load test, is used to measure the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who is already known to be infected. Doctors may suggest and HIV PCR test if they think a person has been infected with HIV in the past few days or weeks.

Is HIV testing ever mandatory?
In New York State, HIV testing is generally voluntary and cannot be done without the written, informed consent of the person being tested. However, testing is mandatory in New York State under certain circumstances:

As of February 1997, all newborns in New York State are tested for HIV antibodies. A newborn's test result also provides information about the mother's HIV status.
Blood and organ donations are tested for HIV
HIV testing can be required in order to participate in some federal programs, such as the Job Corps and the Armed Forces.
Under certain conditions, inmates in federal prisons (but no in state or local correction facilities) are tested for HIV without their consent.
HIV testing can be required for certain types of insurance, like disabiity or life insurance. However, insurance companies must tell applicants they will be tested for HIV, must provide them with general information, and must have the applicant sign a consent form. In New York State, people cannot be denied health insurance because they have HIV or AIDS.
Why is it recommended that all pregnant women have an HIV test?
HIV can be passed from mother to child during pregnancy, labor and delivery, and breastfeeding. However, there are medicines that can reduce this risk. The sooner a pregnant woman knows she has HIV, the sooner she can begin treatment to lower the risk of passing the virus to her baby and for her own health. Because it is so important for pregnant women to know their HIV status, doctors are required to provide HIV counseling to all pregnant women in New York State and to recommend testing. Ideally, women should know their HIV status before considering pregnancy. HIV testing should occur as early as possible in pregnancy and should be repeated in the third trimester.

Why are all newborns in New York State tested for HIV?
It is very important that infants born to HIV-infected women get special medical care. Ideally, women with HIV should take HIV medicines during pregnancy and labor and delivery, and their babies should be given medicines right after birth to reduce the risk of HIV being passed to the baby. However, some women do not know that they have HIV when they are pregnant. If a woman does not take HIV medications before the baby's birth, medications can still be given to the infant right after birth to lower the chances that the baby will become infected.

Newborn screening is a safety net program for infants whose mothers were not tested for HIV during pregnancy. In New York State, all babies are tested for HIV antibodies. Since all newborns carry their mother's antibodies, the baby of a woman with HIV will test positive for the first 6 to 18 months, even if the baby is not actually infected. A baby wtih HIV antibodies will be given medicines to lower the risk of HIV infection. If a baby's HIV antibody test is positive at birth, the baby's blood will be tested a few times using a special test called PCR (which looks for HIV directly). The first test (to find out if the infant is actually infected with HIV) should be done soon after birth, preferably during the first week of life. The baby's doctor will recommend the best time(s) for the next PCR test(s). Generally, by age 4 months, a PCR test can show whether or not an infant has HIV.

Post Extras: Remind Me!   Notify Moderator  
Pages: 1

What's New at

Additional Information
0 registered and 1 anonymous users are browsing this forum.

Moderator:  TheBody, bogart, gigi, riverprincess 

      You cannot start new topics
      You cannot reply to topics
      HTML is enabled
      UBBCode is enabled

Thread views: 1772

Jump to

Contact Us | Privacy Statement The Body

UBB.threads™ 6.2.3