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HIV window period six weeks or six months?


Why is it that some notable and highly respected doctors say the window period for nearly conclusive HIV test results is 6 weeks while a common standard line says it takes 6 months to be in the clear.

Is it ture that the 6 the six month thing is extremely rare and and generally outdated, or as some doctors call it, political "cover your ***"?

Ok this can all be very confusing. I wish someone out there knew the truth. I am a nurse and have heard so many different answers to this question. My doctor said that after 1 year of testing you are fine. I read in a book that 6 months after exposure if you test negative then you are fine. I then read in one of my nursing books that you should get tested up to 35 months after exposure. Then in another book it said 1 year, then another 2 years. I wish all the confusion about this would end. I know in the health field if you are stuck with a contaminated needle you get tested then get tested every 3 months for 1 year. Then you are finished. I think after 1 year if you are negative then you are fine.

Most doctors will run the test, and repeat it in six months. Running it earlier than that may or may not be conclusive.

Most doctors I have worked with will run it once a year for two years after the initial test, and the six month repeat.

Most doctors will test you when you come in, and again after a period of time, usually around six months. However, there have been cases of HIV lying dormant in the body for upwards of eight years, so if you are sexually active, its best to be tested every year and always use a condom.

It is suggested that you get treated every 6 months for up to 2 years after possible exposure. It takes a while for your body to react to the virus and create the anti-bodies that they look for in the test. There are reported cases of HIV lying dormant for much longer, but normally you're considered in the clear if you test negative after the 2 year mark.

You generally can't get an accurate test untill 6 weeks after exposure (about the earliest it will show up in your system). That may be where the confusion is comming from.

If you have been exposed, there are drugs you can take imediatley which lowers the chances of transmission, but these are usually given to health care workers who have suffered a needle stick (not sure if it's available to others at this point).

If you think you have been exposed, keep going back and getting tested every 6 months. Avoid risky behaviour (make sure to use condoms, don't chare needles, etc). It's a good idea to get tested on a regular basis anyways (about once a year or so, if you engage in any potentially risky behaviour)

Recent research, albeit with rather small populations, discovered the HIV antibody window averages just 22 days, (6-41 days) 95% confidence interval with today's antibody tests. In the late eighties and early nineties, the average was 42 days.
While the confusion is very frustrating, especially with some of the ridiculous answers given here, it lies in the difference betweeen the old and new tests.
If I was extremely anxious about a recent exposure, I would test at 4 weeks as over 90% would test positive by then. If that test was negative, I would repeat at 8 weeks just to be sure.
Remember, nothing in life is a 100 percent and VERY RARE individuals will never produce antibodies-I'm talking one in tens or hundreds of thousands. Therefore, if you continue to have serious symptoms, like shingles, long-lasting and frequent herpes outbreaks, chronic diarehha lasting over a month, TB, etc. Two DNA PCR's seperated by three months will put it to rest.
Finally, this bit of information should help. The United KIngdom recently reported that in over ten years of HIV antibody testing using standard antibody blood tests, not one individual tested positive after 12 weeks.
2 years.......JeeZ.

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