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HIV Transmission and Education >> Am I Infected?

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Anonymous
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Window Period
      #54702 - 01/14/03 11:30 AM

This is from the New York State Board of Health:
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.

What is the recommendation for testing for individuals who engage in on-going risk behavior?
The primary focus of our work with individuals who place themselves at on-going risk for HIV infection must be continued education, behavioral counseling and harm reduction, such as education about safer injection practices and referral to syringe exchange programs and drug rehabilitation services. HIV testing offers no “protection” from HIV infection. An individual with a negative HIV test who engages in on-going risk behavior should be offered testing every three months and counseled to avoid risk behavior. In these cases, the function of testing is to ensure early access to care in the event that the individual becomes HIV positive.

For more information about the window period, consult the following articles:

Bartlet JG. Serology and Baseline Laboratory Studies for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection Infectious Diseases in Clinical Practice, Vol. 4, No. 5, pp 334-42.

Busch MP, Lee LL, et al. Time Course of Detection of Viral and Serologic Markers Preceding Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Seroconversion: Implications for Screening of Blood and Tissue Donors. Transfusion, 1995 Vol. 35, No. 2, pp 91-7.

Lackritz EM, Satten GA, et al. Estimated Risk of the Human Immunodeficiency Virus by Screened Blood in the United States New England Journal of Medicine, Vol. 333, Number 26, pp 1721-25.

Report and Recommendations: Fifth Consensus Conference on Testing for Human Retroviruses, March 6-8, 1990; Association of State and Territorial Public Health Laboratory Directors





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Anonymous
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But what if? new
      #54707 - 01/14/03 01:43 PM

but what if I stepped on a needle and didnt realize that it was in my foot for three days? then I dont know when it got in my system. Or if I went to a bascket ball game and caught a basket ball that had blood on it? Or if I got spit on by a homeless person.
Just kidding just laughing at some of the worried well on this site?
I know what I'll do I will think I have HIV then I'll get a HIV test at three months. When I find out I'm negative I'll come back to this site as well as any other sites and question the test accuracy. This way I can convience myself and everyone else that we are the only people in the country to show positive after 3 months. This will be great I'll throw away months maybe even years to questioning my status. Eventually if I stress out enough I'll develop stress symptoms and call them HIV symptoms?

Why didnt I think of this before



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Anonymous
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Re: But what if? new
      #54709 - 01/14/03 02:20 PM

What you're saying makes perfect sense. But it doesn't do alot to help the people who had symptoms BEFORE they thought they might have HIV. Some people develop symptoms and just think they are sick with the flu, some stomach virus, etc. Then they find out it's not that and then recall a possible HIV exposure. I agree that many people post here with needless worry, but there are some who got sick long before they ever thought of HIV exposure. When these people test negative they find it hard to believe because their doctors find nothing else wrong with them.



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Anonymous
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Re: But what if? new
      #54716 - 01/14/03 03:32 PM

Exactly1 I was one of those people! The same stands for them- if you are negative at 3 months then you are negative. Look if you want to self diagnose yourself with HIV when the doctor says you flat dont have it then go right ahead. I dont care if you had every symptom in the book if you show negatiove then you are negative.

See a doctor about mental health if you cant believe your negative results don't waste time looking up that ONE PERSON ON SOME WEBSITE THAT SAYS TEST AT A YEAR AND THEN SAY OH GOSH I HAVE IT I KNEW IT- move on kid if your neagive at three months then your negative



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Anonymous
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Question. new
      #54724 - 01/14/03 04:37 PM

What symptoms did you have that made you think you might have been HIV-infected? Did you ever get a diagnosis as to what your problem actually was? If the symptoms showed up before you thought of HIV, then surely you had some legitimate medical problem rather than some stress-induced garbage.



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Anonymous
Unregistered

Re: Question. new
      #54727 - 01/14/03 05:03 PM

I just posted my story above-

please read



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MyStory
Unregistered

Re: Question. new
      #54777 - 01/14/03 06:25 PM

I posted my story under MUST READ
I answered your question under the first post.



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