Good Day,
I’m a resident in Cambridge Ontario, and I had unprotected vaginal sex with a high risk partner approx. 4 weeks ago. I recently had a rapid test, which was negative, and I understand this test is unreliable prior to 12 week from exposure.

My question is, where can I go for the Duo test within my area or elsewhere even in the US? The stress of not knowing is wearing me down, and I’m prepared do whatever necessary to get tested with the Duo test. It would help to have some reassurance now, but I will also do a follow up test at 3 months.

Thank you your assistance is very much appreciated.

Hi there, and thanks for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline for your HIV/AIDS related health information. It seems you're worried, and are wanting to get the DUO test. We're happy to answer your questions for you.

Unprotected sex, no matter who it is with, is considered a high risk activity. We at AIDS Vancouver assess the risks associated with activities rather than with individuals, as it is more valuable in assessing the risks in situations. So it is good that you've been proactive and are seeking out testing after this situation.

Here is a bit more information on the RAPID test and the DUO test:

Test Name Method Window Period Conditions
Rapid or “Point-of-Care” Blood or oral swab test that looks for antibodies. Up to 95% of infections are detectable within 4-6 weeks post exposure. Most people develop detectable antibodies in 21-25 days. The rapid test is a type of 3rd Generation test. Two forms available: finger prick blood sample or oral swab. Oral swab test is most common in the U.S. but due to false positives in Canada it is not approved and blood collection is more likely. Many places in the U.S. and abroad may charge a fee for rapid testing. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure
4th Generation EIA Blood test that looks for antibodies AND p24 protein antigens. Commonly referred to as the "combination," "combo" or "DUO" test. P24 protein is detectable immediately after infection but only for the first few weeks. The antibody (ab) test has a window period of 4-12 weeks post exposure. This test is widely available in North America. Most HIV specialists consider this test to be conclusive at 6 weeks but official HIV testing guidelines still recommend re-testing at 12 weeks for conclusive results. Conclusive at 3 months post exposure. |
You'll see in the chart that both tests are considered conclusive at 3 months in Canada. If you were to follow the guidelines we have in Canada, the DUO test you are seeking out would not be considered conclusive until at least 3 months as well. If you are seeking out information about testing in Ontario,[ this link]( has a phone number to people that would likely be able to provide more specific information on the availability of the DUO test in Ontario.

Thanks a lot for contacting the
AIDS Vancouver Helpline with your question. We hope it has been answered fully.


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