Anonymous
Hello,
As far as I understand the window period of HIV is the time between the exposure and the point where the person gets tested, right? So why does the RN at the STD clinic insist on waiting for more than 3 months?
Here's the deal: I took an HIV test exactly a month after my exposure and it was inconclusive. She said to come back 3 months after the day the test was run. However, isn't it supposed to be 3 months after the day I was exposed? Why delay the test and fuel the anxiety?
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Anonymous
Hello and thanks for reaching out to the AIDS Vancouver Helpline.


It seems like you would like a clear definition of the window period. We are glad to help.

There are several kinds of HIV tests that are done. Each HIV test looks for specific items like antibodies for the ELSA and Rapid test, genetic material for the Pooled RNA NAAT 'early test'. The P24 Antigen test looks for antigens and 4th Generation looks for both the antibodies and antigen that is why it is referred to as a 'combo test'.

The window period for each test differ. The window period refers to the time between the exposure activity and when the particular item being tested is detectable. Some of the elements can be detected in days and others take weeks or months in order for them to be detected. Therefore the window period really depends on the particular test that is being administered.

We can not comment on what the RN said to you. However we suggest that either you go back to them and get a clarification or you can discuss this with your doctor. What we can comment on is that HIV tests that are done three months after the exposure are considered conclusive no matter which test is done. Most clinicians would recommend that clients be tested at 3 months or after so that they can get conclusive results.

You can also read responses that we have posted on AIDS Vancouver Online forum that are related to your question. For additional information you can also access [CATIE](http://www.catie.ca/en/fact-sheets/testing/hiv-testing-technologies) or [CDC](http://www.cdc.gov/hepatitis/Resources/MtgsConf/HCVSymposium2011-PDFs/15_Jehuda.pdf) websites and read more on testing and window periods.

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline with your question.

Lawrence

AIDS Vancouver Helpline/Online

helpline@aidsvancouver.org

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