Anonymous
AIDSVANCOUVER TEAM,
you have persistently wrote " 21-25 days is when one can have detectable antibodies and up to 95% of infections can be detected in 4-6 weeks of infection" I swear i have almost perused through all your posts and i have not seen any one write that they have had their HIV infections detected in just 3-6 weeks on especially 3rd generation tests including the rapid tests. This leaves me in doubt that these tests can detect infections in just weeks,, so one has to actually wait until after 3 months or even more.
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Anonymous
Hello,

Thank you for contacting the AIDS Vancouver Helpline as your source of HIV/AIDS related information. I am not entirely certain as to what you are asking in your question but I would be happy to clarify some facts for you.

The Rapid Test or 3rd generation test is a test that looks for antibodies that our bodies form in response to being infected with HIV. What you have quoted from us is correct, the normal body does take about 21-25 days to develop detectable HIV antibodies. From this point, about 95% of HIV infections can be detected. The 3 month mark is set by the BC Center for Disease Control (BCCDC) as the time period for conclusive HIV testing. Based on the guidelines AIDS Vancouver follows, as set by the BCCDC, HIV testing is recommended at 3 months for conclusive results. You are correct when you stated this in your post.

Please know that while it is after the 3 month mark where you can get the most accurate results as it may take 3 months to form antibodies, it does not mean that HIV itself cannot be detected earlier using the [Rapid Test](http://smartsexresource.com/topics/hiv-point-care-rapid-test). All the posts that you have read on our forum where HIV was not detected using the Rapid Test before the 3 month mark may simply mean the people were HIV negative and there were no antibodies to detect whether it be before or after the 3 month mark.

I advise you not to get too caught up on the time periods and dates but instead, to focus on the actual test itself. The Rapid Test is a HIV sensitive test that is simply used a preliminary screening test. In other words, it is used to pick out people who may have HIV. Any positive/reactive tests from a Rapid Test, before or after the 3 month mark, must then undergo further confirmatory testing. Please read the [Tests & Diagnosis](http://www.bccdc.ca/health-info/diseases-conditions/hiv-aids) section of the link provided for more information on the Rapid Test and confirmatory testing.

I hope this has answered your question. Please feel free to contact us if you have any more questions or click on the links above for more information.

Best wishes,

Mary

AIDS Vancouver Online Helpline

helpline.aidsvancouver.org

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