Please Note: Helpline services will be on a hiatus as of December 12th and will be re-opening January 12th, during which AIDS Vancouver will be moving to our new location.

Upcoming Holiday Closure

Please Note: Helpline services will be on a hiatus as of December 12th and will be re-opening January 12th, during which AIDS Vancouver will be moving to our new location. If you require immediate assistance please call The Vancouver Crisis Centre at 604-872-3311, visit the Option For Sexual Health, the SmartSex Resource (only from Dec19th-23rd), or refer to past Helpline answers.

The Helpline will reopen January 12th at our new phone number 604-253-0566. If you live in BC or are planning on moving to BC you can call the Helpline. If outside of BC please visit the Helpline Online Forum.
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Is HIV Rapid test after 5 months conclusive?

Question: 

Hi,
I've had around 10-12 HIV screening tests over the last 2-3 months. All came negative. I'm unable to rule out that I might be HIV positive. Some say that it might take up to a year for virus to be detected. Some say with modern testing techniques it can be detected as soon as 6-12 weeks.
According to Wikipedia and CDC it takes six months.
Do I need to get tested again?

Answer: 

Hey there,
Thank you for using the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of HIV related information.
The CDC information you accessed is likely referring to the old guidelines which stated that an HIV test was considered conclusive at 6 months. The current, most up-to-date guidelines state that an HIV test taken 3 months/12 weeks/84 days post an exposure is definite and conclusive. You are absolutely right, the modern testing methods are able to give highly accurate results in a shorter period of time. Some testing methods (e.g. the 4th generation EIA test) are even able to detect HIV immediately after infection or a few days after infection! All current testing methods, be it the Rapid or the ELISA, are accurate methods of determing HIV status.
The only instance where an HIV test may not detect infection is if:i) you are an individual with a preexisting immunodeficiency. Immunodeficiency disorders are commonly diagnosed in infancy, so if you had this you would know, ORii) you are taking Post Exposure Prophylaxis (which is HIV medication) or Hepatitis C (HCV) treatment.Physicians usually recommend that individuals that fall into any of the above categories get re-tested at 6 months; however, their results are unlikely to change between 3-6 months, so this is really just a precautionary measure.
The test you took at the 3 month mark is definite and conclusive. In other words, there is no need to continue testing for this exposure as your result will not change. I hope that this information helps you to accept your negative result. Feel free to contact us again with any further questions.
Kind regards,LindilaAIDS Vancouver Helpline VolunteerE-mail: helpline@aidsvancouver.orgPhone (Mon-Fri 9am-4pm): (604) 696-4666Web: www.aidsvancouver.org/helpline