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about hiv window period

Mar 31, 2012 - 13 comments

*More about HIV window period* :
The window period occurs between the beginning of HIV infection and the demonstration of detectable antibodies to the virus. The window period is almost three to four weeks. Nevertheless it can be extended or longer. The antibody blood tests like ELISA, western blot test, rapid tests, performed during the window period may provide false negative results. Antibodies take almost three weeks to be produced after HIV infection. They become detectable by four or six weeks after HIV infection. This four to six week period is known as a window period.
It means that though the virus exists in blood there are no detectable antibodies in the blood of a person. In such circumstances the tests wrongly exhibit that the person has not been infected with HIV. It does not mean that a person can not infect to others but unknowingly the infection may spread out by a person. People, who are exposed with high risk behavior, are instructed or advised to go through for repeat test after three to six months. Moreover they are advised for use safer sex practices such as using condoms while having sex.
The window period may be extended in some cases. The antibody test may take three months to become positive after the infection of HIV in such cases. Those who think that they may have been infected with HIV, are generally asked to wait at least for four weeks before going through the HIV tests. If in the first test no antibodies detected then the follow up test should be done after completing three months after the assumed exposure.
In the window period a person is infected with the HIV but initially it may not be detected if a person goes through HIV tests.