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Take a look at this...

I was browsing aidsmed.org and found this. It is a discussion about the different info in HIV window period."I talked to a doctor who leads the state in HIV testing in Massachussetts about how they came up with 6 weeks as a conclusive test.  He said the state conducted a huge study following a very large group of MSM participants.  The study concluded that ALL men who seroconverted during this test did so within 6 weeks using modern assays AKA 3rd gen or higher.  Also, the public health dept of Mass is funded by the CDC and I assure you if the CDC had proof that what they were saying was incorrect they would say something about it. More importantly, if people were coming back positive after a 6 week neg, we'd hear about it.  In the medical field there is acceptions to everything.  Nothing is 100%, but for all general purposes it is accurate. I would say thay most of the leading researchers/doctors conclude that 6 weeks is accurate:
"Not only have I never had a case, I have never heard a story from any of my many colleagues (who have much greater experience than I do) having a patient who was HIV negative 6 weeks after exposure and positive later. Unless, of course, there were new exposures in the meantime."
- H. Hunter Handsfield, M.D., Senior Health Research Leader at the Battelle Center for Public Health Research "The AIDS virus replicates (reproduces itself) very quickly: minutes. But, the tests to detect whether someone has been infected with the virus after exposure take much longer to be accurate. The standared HIV test is positive within 3-4 weeks of exposure (the older HIV antibody tests took 2-3 months). In situations where someone has symptoms of acute HIV infection (high fever, swollen glands, rash) we use a test to look for the virus itself, the HIV viral load test. This test detects HIV within 2-3 weeks of exposure and is used in cases where people have symptoms of ACUTE HIV infection. In your case, assuming you are feeling well, you should get a HIV antibody test four weeks after your potential exposure."
35 Responses
Avatar universal
Here is the rest of it:
- Dr. Lisa Capaldini, An Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at University California San Francisco where she has presented lectures with topics including AIDS, the doctor-patient relationship and working with gay and lesbian patients since 1988.  She is held in high reguard and is one of the nations leading HIV experts."With the new generation of tests, one at 6 weeks is conclusive.  I do not know the reasons the CDC is reluctant to accept that, although I suspect they are concerned about missing any truly positives at that point."
- David Barry, PhD, Expert in HIV/AIDS natural history, prevention & education, and testing & counselling. With all that being said, the people here at aidsmeds.com can't go on and tell everyone to stop testing at 6 weeks even if it is accurate because they would be underminding the CDC.  More people look at this site than just industrialized countries.  All they (aidmeds moderators) can state is what they do:  the CDC says 12 weeks is accurate and 6 weeks is more than a good indicator.  Ann has said on here many times she's never seen a 6 week turn pos later so she does the best she can without contradicting the CDC. "
Avatar universal
Sorry, i kind of made a mistake and put the sentences together, but Dr. HHH's sentence ends in "there were new exposures in the meantime."
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what were your sources for these items?
Avatar universal
Go here:
http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=3440.0
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Joan, I contacted the Mass. Department of Health and posted the comment that I received from them. They suggest testing out to 3 month for all high risk exposures.
Avatar universal
I agree with Teak on 100% wait 3 months.  If you want to be more statistical and play very good odds then 6 weeks for ~90%.  That is just my take on it...  

But I talked with Mass.  and Home Access for example and they said any Generation (2nd and above) test after 6 weeks will be just as accurate.  Do we now think this not to be true?  I am just looking for opinions.
Avatar universal
Why in heavens earth would Dr. HHH give such a resounding endorsement of a 6 week test if he didnt actually believe it.  I know there are different degrees of risk - and of course the greater the risk - the more imp. it is to test out accordingly....but frankly its a tiresome subject regarding the window period  - in low risk settings - it is becoming glaringly obvious that a 6 week test is sufficient.....i know Teak will not agree with this until the CDC abides by a lower window period - which may or may not happen.
Avatar universal
He doesn't follow the guideline of the Health Deptment he's a member of which states 3 months. http://www.metrokc.gov/HEALTH/apu/infograms/testing.htm
Avatar universal


Just reading the info and the replies it seems a bit contradictory.

If the state of Mass. lowered the window period to six weeks based on a study of MSM - common sense would dictate most or perhaps all of the seroconversions from this goup were from high risk exposures - yet they were confident enough to declare six weeks conclusive.

Why would they feel comfortable lowering  their window period then caution everyone else to test out to three months for high risk exposures.

Somenting is missing?

RB
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I agree.  I think Mass. they take a probability stance like Dr. HHH, coupled with testing statistics to say unless you had a high risk exposure
Avatar universal
I understand ur confusion but keep in mine that dr. hhh i think has mention in some of his responses that the mass clinic as well as the new york clinics are standing by a 6 week to be conclusive.  
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what i'm trying to say is that i trust dr. hhh 100% and if we r not then we r wasting our time in this forum.  
Avatar universal
First, excuse my English.It's not very good. I've read a lot about this window period and for all I've learn nobody really has a conclusive answer. I just don't believe that Mass. Department of Health would dare to say the window period is 6 weeks for MOST of people if it wasn't really true. That would be very irresponsible. They must base this assumption (6 weeks) on something, for sure.
Dr. HHH wouldn't be telling people that 4-6 weeks or 6-8 weeks test was pretty much conclusive (for low risks exposures) if he thought it wasn't true.
I think a 6 week negative result is indeed a good indicator that a person do not have HIV. Of course, there are exceptions, as you know, people with debilitate immune system, etc...This is possible, but rare. Remember that with the new generations tests is also much difficult to miss a positive result at that stage. Dr. HHH himself and other doctors that work in the area haven't seen anybody turning positive at 3 months after a 6 week negative in the last few years. That pretty much tells me, cases like late seroconversion are, again, possible, but very rare.
I myself again believe that a 6 week negative result is a good indicator of your status and very reassuring, but for a high risk I would say a 3 month test for a piece of mind. Especially because someone with a high risk wouldn't rest until 6 weeks later. You know, sometimes at night before you go to bed, when you are about to lay down and you start to think if you lock the front door or not. You are almost sure you did, but you know if you don't go there and check again, you won't be able to sleep well.
Avatar universal
I agree...
79258 tn?1190630410
Joan, I think that's a perfect analogy. Both are characteristic of OCD :-)

I never fail to be mystified by why everyone here is so quick to accept Teak's opinion on testing, but completely disregard what people who are actually *experts* believe and experience and know. Anyone with any particular illness (or whatever) is going to have an agenda, and can't be even remotely objective.

But there are people who DON'T have an agenda--they're the people who have studied (whatever) and whose opinions are based purely in fact and research and experience--not to mention basic scientific and medical knowledge. So who are you going to believe?

Ah, critical reading and thinking are invaluable skills...
Avatar universal
Teak - I understand you don't abide or believe in a 6 week test - nor do you probably even believe in its usefullness.  Here's the rub mate...are you a DR?  I dont believe you are...and the Mass DEPT OF HEALTH  - a team of DRs support a 6 week test...futhermore....an esteemed DR - DR HHH- who has WRITTEN CDC POLICY....AGREES.....i dont want to change your mind - because that is not my problem....but the stigma over this disease and the need to help people cope is what drives me....and sadly you wont accept what seems to be a sea change in thinking.

At the end of the day - if you want to help -you take all your knowledge and you try to help as best you can....sometimes i think you just want to reit you stances....again thats fine - but realize that while you may not be a DR - your opinion means alot to people and perhaps your unwillingness to accept data from other sources is greatly frustrating.......
Avatar universal
Does anybody know what kind of antibody HIV tests have been used in New York? I understand they say the window period is 3 months, but they also say with the HIV antibody tests used in New York State, virtually all people who are infected will test positive within one month of being infected. Most people will test positive even sooner. Are they referring to a standard HIV tests?
Avatar universal
I live in jersey, and i know in some clinics they used the gum swab and others the poking of the finger. In New York i don't know but i assume they could be using both since we are so close.

I just want to share something i just remember about a year ago i went to get a test and i told the counselor about the 6 week window period and she totally disagree with it. but she did tell me that recently she had a patient test positive 4 to 5 weeks after her potential exposure. so what that tells me is that people can test positive at 4 weeks and maybe dr.hhh has seen that and kows it. but as a safety factor for himself he saids 6 weeks is good enough when in reality is 4 weeks. and thats my opion as crazy as it sounds and with the cdc they know 6 weeks is good enough but as a safety factor they say 3 months.  
Avatar universal
I believe ( and i am not certain about this) that they use 3rg generation tests
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What continues to scare me is this whole window period.  I had what Dr. HHH says and many of you have responded to me as a low risk exposure, (even though it doesn
Avatar universal
Dr. HHH himself said that "A negative antibody test at 4 weeks will be highly reassuring (90-95% of infected people would be positive), but not as solid as waiting 6 weeks, when virtually 100% have positive results).
So, I think you are right. And as Doc HHH said probably the majority(~90-95) of people who is really infected would have a positive result at 4 weeks. That is why I think Mass. Department of Health and few others believe in the 6 weeks window period for a reliable result.
And about the tests that New York uses, I think they are using standart tests as you said. I don't think they are referring to those DNA, P24 tests., since they are expensive and not easily availably for the majority of the population.
Avatar universal
My opinion ~98% confident...
Avatar universal
Worried,

Do you have any reason to believe that you have a suppressed immune system?
I am not a doctor, but for all that I've read and learned so far, a 9 week negative result is close to 100% accurate, especially after a not high risk exposure.
If you are still worried have another test in 3 weeks just for peace of mind. As far as I know, it is almost unheard that anybody turn out to be positive even after 6 weeks.
Avatar universal
these posts are very interesting and very helpful.  I do have a question for someone though, what would be the reasons for you to re test after a negative 12 week antibody test (other than another risky situation)  I had a negative 12.5 week test and a month after that, i started having light sweating at night, little red dots on my arms, can someone help?  thanks alot guys
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