HIV - Prevention Expert Forum
The longest window period
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This forum is limited to prevention of HIV and to safe sex in general. All questions will be answered by H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D. or Edward W Hook, MD.

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The longest window period

Whats the longest window period of time reported that it takes a person to find out if they are HIV or not. I'm having all these crazy symptoms when I go on the forum I see that it can be related to HIV. I and my husband are dealing with serious weight loss, involuntary muscle movements, but have been tested for the past four years and the test is coming back negative. Also recurrent staph infections, just wanna know whats going on with our health condition.
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Welcome to the forum.  I would really like to help.  Unfortunately, I don't think I can.

Judging by your comments both here and on other forums, you have been concerned about your and/or your husband's symptoms for several years, and I doubt my additional reassurance is going to solve your problem.  The fact is that the symptoms of HIV are nonspecific -- that is, the identical symptoms occur in many (hundreds?) of other medical conditions, most of which are more common than HIV.

Most important, HIV test results always overrule symptoms in judging whether or not someone is infected.  In other words, your negative test results prove that something other than HIV explains your symptoms. The typical window period for the standard HIV antibody tests is 6-8 weeks, with official advice from the test manufacturers saying 3 months.  To my knowledge, with the standard tests in current use, there has never been anyone in whom it took longer than 3 months to develop a positive result.  And if you also have had direct tests for the virus (DNA/RNA testing, p24 antigen, etc) those results further prove you aren't infected.  

This forum deals strictly with HIV, which you do not have -- so I will not speculate on the actual causes of your symptoms.  You and your husband will have to continue to work with your doctors on it.

Good luck with it--  HHH, MD
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thank you for your response, I'm trying to let the fear go, but its really hard to do that with all the weight I've lost, epecially my husband. But if were not sick we will half to look to find something other then what I'm thinking. You'll have been a great help thank you so much.
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239123_tn?1267651214
There are many, many medical conditions (perhaps hundreds) that could explain your symptoms.  Almost all of them are more common than HIV.  Why are you so fixated on HIV as the explanation?  It makes no sense, regardless of your sexual history or other potential exposures.  Your fixation on HIV really isn't normal and I hope you will seriously consider counseling about it.  I suggest it from compassion, not criticism.

That will be all for this thread.  Good luck.
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This Forum's Experts
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H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D.Blank
University of Washington
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Edward W Hook, MDBlank
University of Alabama at Birmingham
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MedHelp Health Answers
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