QUICK & EASY - WINDOW PERIOD OPINION

Question

Dear Dr. Bob,

Some other MD's like Dr. HHH al medhelp.org says that a negative antibody test taken at weeks 6-8 is nearly 100% accurate. Why does he say that?? Do you agree with him??

I've seen in several posts answered by him, how in low-to-non-risk situation people is sent home free with a 6-8 negative test.

i know what you are going to tell me .. and the three month mark .. and everything.. I just want your medical opinion regarding what doctor HHH say: ~100% accurate @ weeks 6-8. Do you agree with him??

Txs doc My best wishes for you.

Answer

Hello,

I cannot explain another physician's opinion. You'll have to ask him to justify his statements if you don't agree with them. I base my comments on sound scientific research and personal experience.

Regarding HIV-antibody tests, the vast majority of HIV-infected individuals will have detectable levels of anti-HIV antibodies in their blood within six to eight weeks. There is no disagreement on that point. The published guidelines recommend a window period of three months. Ultimately, as our testing techniques continue to improve and become more widely available to testing sites worldwide, the published guidelines may well shorten the window period. Some specific testing sites (Australia) have published guidelines with shorter window periods based on their testing methods. However, so far the national guidelines in the U.S. and most international guidelines as well continue to recommend three months. One could make the argument that even if HIV testing catches "the vast majority" or even "nearly 100%" of HIV-positives, that is not good enough when dealing with an illness as catastrophic as HIV/AIDS. So whether it's Dr. HHH, Dr. Phil, Dr. Seuss or Dr. Bob, you can choose to believe whomever you please, but I urge you to look at the rational behind the statements and not compare apples with oranges. Statements taken out of context can appear to be conflicting when in reality the opinions actually are quite consistent, which I think is the case here.

Dr. Bob