All Journal Entries Journals
Previous | Next

HIV Window Period

Aug 21, 2010 - 13 comments

I have read a number (and I mean a NUMBER) of posts that debate the entire 6-8 week "window" period and 3 month window period.  Some people (companies in the business of 'making money') desire the "FDA" guidelines of waiting the 3 month mark, which I regard as unnecessary. I do agree with Dr. Hook and Dr. Handsfield when one has to take into account the (a) risk (b) partner, etc.    As I read from one of MHModerator, she states 3 months.  THat is fine, that is what she believes.  Not I.     If there is an in-house debate regarding the 3 mos. window period and the views expressed from the ACTUAL Doctors on Medhelp, then the Medhelp operator and Dr. Forum need to be on the "same page".

I really have little or no faith when it comes to the FDA/CDC guidelines.  After all, the need to account for EVERY single person in the population, therefore they cover persons with even the most REMOTE illness, that could hinder any possible test,...not just HIV tests.   Having contacted 2 ID doctors, they too are in agreement with the views expressed on the Doctor Forum, that nearly 98% of persons show up HIV +   by 8 weeks.  THey too have never seen an 8 week test turn positive.

But then again...it is up to you.  Get tested @ 6 weeks, when the VAST majority of people will test Positive, and regardless, get tested at 3 months IF it makes you feel more comfortable (considering you had a VALID risk).




Comments
Post a Comment
Avatar universal
by joggen, Aug 21, 2010
The HIV Prevention Community goes by 3 months because those are the official guidelines (i.e. FDA, CDC) and the forum is staffed by laypeople not doctors. 6-8 weeks is based on a professional medical opinion (which nobody in the HIV Prevention Community can provide) which is why the forum goes by what is officially promulgated by health authorities. That is why the advice in the two forums differs.

Avatar universal
by upstateny123, Aug 21, 2010
Thanks for that info.

I do believe Dr. Hook and Dr. Handsfield have explained in the past their rationale for providing "their" 6-8 week window period for HIV infection. Not only are they basing their information on stats, but they have reviewed countless literature, studies, and observations that account for their understanding of the window period.   Besides, the FDA and CDC are "slow" when it comes to updating government information.  Perhaps one should look at the countless medications and tests that the FDA approved in the past that are now pending litigation due to their haphazard means of evaluating drug information prior to implementation on the pharmaceutical market.  

The mention of this magical 3 month window period suprises me.  I remember 10 years ago getting tested and the woman testing me THEN stated that she has seen more than 90% of people test positive by 4 weeks.    If someone is tested @ 8 weeks and found negative,...it is assuredly HIGHLY unlikely this person will/would be an anomoly to the HIV testing window period, unless they have other immune disorders and/or drug addiction problems or a recent organ transplant.

I despise the blanket notion of the 3 mos.  It makes as though people cannot or should not get tested prior to this timeframe. It precludes the idea that @ 3 mos, a magical timer and bell will go off and tell you your HIV status.  That is not the case.  

The makers of HIV tests (Orasure, Unigold, etc.) NEED to state 3 mos. for their legal purpose.  Ask their high-paid attorneys...I am sure they could tell another story.    Besides, when you have medical analysts and ID Doctors telling you who are clearly aware of the 6-8 week window period (with the average time to being 22 days), they reiterate the same information that I have read on the Doctor's Forum.  Kudos to Dr. H+ H!

Avatar universal
by joggen, Aug 21, 2010
I certainly understand your frustration, especially when people in the field say that any test before 3 months isn't accurate and refuse to test people before then. That just puts people through unnecessary anxiety. Having an initial test at 6 weeks should be standard policy, and it should be explained that receiving a negative result at that time means there is very little to no chance of the result changing at 3 months. The field is very slow to adopt change. For example some 'professionals' still advocate a 6 month or 1 year window period.

Avatar universal
by upstateny123, Aug 21, 2010
I would not say it is "frustration" as much as inability to understand viewpoints.  

I do appreciate the reflection/comments  joggen.

Avatar universal
by Teak, Aug 21, 2010
by Emily_MHModerator
, 16 hours ago
This thread is now closed. It could end up in an endless debate, and that's not what this forum is for. The current guidelines set by test manufacturers, the CDC, FDA, etc., state 3 months is conclusive, and that's what we go by.

If you are concerned, test again. That's up to you. According to the guidelines, there is no need to test past the 3 months mark.

Thanks for understanding.

Emily


Avatar universal
by upstateny123, Aug 23, 2010
Emily, who is not a MD needs to let Medhelp (and the owners of the website) know that both MD's on the HIV Prevention Forum as well as the International Forum are not in accordance with that policy. Both ID Doctors in my area also agree with the 4 MD;'s on this forum.  They too believe as well as all 4 Doctors on this website that  a p24 AG/AB test are definitive and conclusive @ 4 weeks.

Per Dr. Jose Gonzalez Garcia:

"How long for P24 Antigen results?
Fully conclusive at 4 weeks from the encounter.  However this can be detected much earlier."

Avatar universal
by Teak, Aug 23, 2010
P24 tests will not give a reliable result and they are not stand alone tests. There are NO TESTS approved, marketed or sold that will give a conclusive negative test earlier than 3 months post exposure.

Avatar universal
by upstateny123, Aug 23, 2010
Define "conclusive".

Avatar universal
by Teak, Aug 23, 2010
3 months post exposure is conclusive. Early detection and conclusive aren't the same. Just because someone that had an exposure that wasn't shown in 6-8 weeks have antibodies does not mean they are conclusively negative.

Avatar universal
by upstateny123, Aug 23, 2010
"3 months post exposure is conclusive" is based on manufacturing guidelines, which then originates from my original journal entry thread (legalities). A test marketed for manufacturing that provides high sensitivity/specificity percentages @ designated time intervals provides validation for instances whereby persons who had limited 'risk factors' related to HIV exposure.  

Persons who have had risk scenarios with an HIV+ persons are ideal candidates to test out to 3 months for the 'conclusive' defintion of which we speak. Understanding that there are no 'absolutes' in medicine demonstrates that 'conclusive' is a relative term when it dictates the persons risk factors, exposure (and other variables ).

Avatar universal
by CHARLIE1013, May 02, 2012
Teak, I enjoy reading some of your post on here, but just for my personal knowledge,are you a doctor or medical professional expert in the field of HIV and AIDS? Just wondering because your comment "There are NO TESTS approved, marketed or sold that will give a conclusive negative test earlier than 3 months post exposure" may be correct from the manufacturers standpoint, but some of the docs on this site gives advice that contradicts this, in a way..



Avatar universal
by CHARLIE1013, May 02, 2012
Teak, look at my post titled "Love triangle"


Avatar universal
by RainLover71, May 02, 2012
AN HIV DUO TEST AT 4 WEEKS IS 99.89% ACCURATE,AN ANTIBODY TEST AT 3 MONTHS IS 100% ACCURATE.THERE IS NO DEBATE.

Post a Comment