Dear Doctor,

I really want to ask that if the person really have to be tested at 3 months mark then what is the sanctity of 4th Generation Tests claiming to be exponentially reducing the window period?Then even today also one is relying on 3rd Generation ANTIBODY Test.Are we saying that the 4th Generation tests are not reliable or they are not sensitive enough?.

People are being adviced differently at different forums and are even cleared and have sexual relations with their partner even if they have taken a single 4th Generation tests at say 5th or 6th week post their exposures or even upto 9th or 10th week considering that the DUO tests are conclusive after 4th week.Now its slightly confusing and disturbing also if a person is going through all the answers being posted in different forums.They really need to take pain of every passing hour till they cross 3 months mark.

As per the answers given by Dr Hansfeild or Dr Sean in Medhelp if a person is getting intimated with his/her partner after taking 4th Generation tests after 4 weeks and before 3 months then they are they putting their partner at risk????? If the seroconversion does takes place?And if not then what is the probability of such persons who are negative after taking 4th Generation tests after 4 weeks but still have a chance of seroconverting after that?Are medhelp- base experts/ doctors really putting persons on risk?? Please do answer..

Regards, AS


Hello AS,

There is no "sanctity" of fourth generation tests or DUO tests. I have no doubt that improvements in HIV testing are increasing the accuracy of diagnostic testing and shortening the window period. However, I base my responses on published scientific guidelines, not on "claims." For instance, I have no way of verifying that "DUO tests are conclusive after the 4th week." Detecting anti-HIV antibodies in the blood depends not only on the sensitivity and specificity of the testing assay, but also on host-immune integrity and response. In other words, no matter how good the test is, different peoples' immune systems may take longer to kick in and start making anti-HIV antibodies. I'm confident that with additional time and experience the guidelines will be revised and the window period will be shortened. But so far that has not happened. Consequently the three-month recommendation remains in effect. I prefer to be overly cautious on this point, because missing a diagnosis can have catastrophic consequences. Finally, it's always worth noting if folks would stop putting themselves at risk for HIV, they wouldn't have to worry about window periods!

Dr. Bob