Anonymous
Hi,

I have read in some of the posts that most HIV specialist consider 4th generation test conclusive after 6 weeks. Do they deem it conclusive for both HIV-1 and HIV-2. As the P24 Antigen is a part of HIV-1, if antibodies are not formed then HIV-2 might not be detected at the 6 weeks mark. Is it correct?

Also can the test detect the antibodies that are bidden to antigens? Can there be a scenario when the antibodies are formed and starts binding to the antigens and the test might return a false negative as the antibodies are bidden to the antigens and no antigen/antibody is detected.

Thank you.
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Anonymous
Hi there and thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline forum.

You've got some good questions about HIV testing, it sounds like you are very informed.

Fourth generation HIV testing is considered to be the most accurate form of testing developed so far because it tests for both antibodies and the P24 protein that is detectable immediately after infection. You're right that the 4th generation test is considered to be conclusive after 6 weeks, however, official HIV testing guidelines recommend a retest after 12 weeks for completely conclusive results. So, getting retested after 12 weeks is the best way to be sure and should rule out any possible errors.

Third generation HIV testing (also called ELISA) is the form of testing that is most widely used and is considered to be 99.8% accurate after 4 weeks to 3 months (it is considered most conclusive after 3 months), while 4th generation tests are considered to be 99.9% accurate. So either test has a high likelihood of being accurate.

It sounds like you're already quite informed, but for more information on testing and types of HIV tests or just HIV in general you can always check out the AIDS Vancouver website.

I hope this helps to answer your question. It's great that you know so much already, keep up the good work!

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