I know that people always say that the window period is 3 months but I recently had a rapid test done at a clinic with fingerprick and it was negative. I was wondering how conclusive this test is at 6 weeks, 8 weeks etc? How does this. Compare to say a 3rd gen test done by a quest or labcorp? Have you seen a person negative via rapid at 6 weeks seroconvert later on?
Uncertainties about time to reliably positive HIV test results continue to be a dominant discussion point on this and MedHelp's other HIV forums. When an antibody-only test is done, 3 months is indeed the official time frame for deinitive results. However, all the standard antibody tests in current use reach positive results by 4 weeks in 90% of cases, and almost always -- if they're going to be positive at all -- by 6-8 weeks. The time is shorter -- about 4 weeks -- if antibody testing is combined with a test for HIV itself, either with p24 antigen (in the "duo" or "combi" tests, also called "4th generation" tests) or by adding a test for HIV DNA/RNA. The rapid antibody tests can be considered 3r generation; they become positive just as quickly as lab-based antibody tests by Labcorp, Quest, or most other laboratories.
The reasons the official time for definitive results -- by the test manufacturers as well as most public health agencies -- have to to with the methods used to determine test performance as well as the regulations of agencies like the US Food and Drug Administration. These issues are described in more detail in the thread below:
It really doesn't matter whether I have personally seen anyone whose antibody test was negative at 6 weeks and became positive later. As it happens, I have not -- but that doesn't mean it never occurs. But if it does, it is very, very rare.
I hope this has been helpful. Best wishes-- HHH, MD
This site complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information.
The Content on this Site is presented in a summary fashion, and is intended to be used for educational and entertainment purposes only. It is not intended to be and should not be interpreted as medical advice or a diagnosis of any health or fitness problem, condition or disease; or a recommendation for a specific test, doctor, care provider, procedure, treatment plan, product, or course of action. Med Help International, Inc. is not a medical or healthcare provider and your use of this Site does not create a doctor / patient relationship. We disclaim all responsibility for the professional qualifications and licensing of, and services provided by, any physician or other health providers posting on or otherwise referred to on this Site and/or any Third Party Site. Never disregard the medical advice of your physician or health professional, or delay in seeking such advice, because of something you read on this Site. We offer this Site AS IS and without any warranties. By using this Site you agree to the following Terms and Conditions. If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your physician or 911 immediately.