Hello AIDS Vancouver,

Thank you for your service to us the community!

First I would like to say that I am aware of the WHO guidelines to test at 3 months after exposure and that no test is conclusive until then.

My question are the following;

1: Can HIV DUO detect HIV in my system 2-4 weeks into the exposure?
- According to the CDC this test is fairly accurate in this window period and if found to be negative no other test is needed.

2: How about the PCR test? Is this test really accurate if it dont find HIV in someone blood in the 2-3 week window period?
- from what I gather HIV multiplies in the millions as soon as we are infected right ? So my guess is if this test is taken and it comes back negative that it is a good sign correct that HIV isn't in my blood and that I am fine ?

Now i have taken an HIV antibody test from the 5-9 weeks and they were all negative.

Taken PCR at the 3rd week mark. Taken HIV DUO at 2 an 4 week mark. Which all resulted in negative results.

I need to be certain that i am not HIV infected and i need more than just a simple answer since i am aware of the WHO guidelines.

Is the testing I've done at the time I've taken them accurate enough to say i don't have HIV?

Wouldn't have the DUO at 2 and 4 week have detected the antigen in my blood and/or antibodies if i was really infected ? I am aware that this test is 99.9% accurate.

How about the PCR with its 99.6% accuracy? Wouldn't have this test found the actual virus?

And the antibody test taken at the 5-9 week mark that were negative good? The accuracy of this test at 9 weeks is? Doctor said the 9 week test i took for this can be considered conclusive along with any other test i took before then like the DUO/PCR.

I know all of these negative test are a good indication of my status but i need to know more about what these test do and if they would have picked HIV at the time i took them.

Can people manifest symptoms of HIV even though they are negative ? Oral thrush (candidiasis)? Or is that due to dry mouth or inhaler usage as i am asthmatic and never had oral thrush till now. Due to stress ?

I am also guessing stress can have an affect on the digestive system/gastrointestinal tract? Also a cause of HIV the digestive issues or what?

I know HIV cannot be diagnosed based on symptoms as only testing can determine if you're infected. Can you have symptoms but have HIV show positive at a later time or you can't have one without the other ?

How long does seroconversion takes place usually?

Thanks in advance.
Hello There,

Thank you for posting on the AIDS Vancouver Helpline Forum.

I will address your questions in the order you have presented them.

1. 2-4 weeks is a short period of time for the DUO test to detect the virus. The DUO test has a window period of 4-12 weeks. Yes, we have not seen test results change past the 6 weeks post exposure. Therefore, if your test comes back negative then you can trust it. It would be a good indication of your HIV status and it is under your own discretion whether you want to get retested at the 3 month point post exposure for conclusive results.

2. The PCR test has a window period of 2-3 weeks. Therefore, you can get tested during that time, but would still need to get retested at 3 months post exposure for conclusive results if you choose to do so.

Test results of 5-9 week period post exposure is a good indication of your HIV status since as I have mentioned we have not seen results change past the 6 week period post exposure.

Yes, they are. It is under your own discretion to retake the test at 3 months post exposure.

As I have mentioned above, 2-4 weeks is a short period of time for the DUO test to detect the antibodies. Antibodies are detectable at 4-12 weeks post exposure for the DUO test.

Both results would have given you accurate results if they were taken within their window periods. It is up to you to get retested at 3 months post exposure.

The test results of the 9 week mark are promising results.

The DUO test looks for antibodies AND P24 protein antigens. The antigen P24 is detectable immediately after infection and only for the first few weeks. The antibody test has a window period of 4-12 weeks.

The PCR test detects the genetic material of HIV itself. PCR stands for Polymerase Chain Reaction and is a common way of testing.

There are no clinically identifiable symptoms for HIV. We only rely on test results for HIV diagnosis. Any of the reasons you have describe could be the reason of the symptoms you have been experiencing. They are not due to HIV.

The only times there would be a delay of test results is if you fall under any of these 4 conditions:

1.PEP (Post Exposure Prophylaxis)

2.Hep C Treatment

3.Some types of cancer treatment. Ask your doctor about the details.

4. Immunodeficiency which is diagnosed in infancy.

If you fall under any of these categories then your test results would be delayed for 6 months post exposure rather than 3 months.

Hope this helps!

Please let us know if we can provide any more information. Or if you would like to call and speak to someone at the Helpline, you can do so anonymously and confidentially by calling 604-696-4666, Monday-Friday between 10am-4pm.

All the Best,


AIDS Vancouver Helpline Volunteer


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