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Question
Posted by: anon | 2004/02/21

Window period

What is the window period. How long after infection can the tests pick up HIV?

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Our expert says:
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Eliza test +/- 6 wweks and the PCR =/- 2 weeks after exposure

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Our users say:
Posted by: Orie | 2004/02/23

Hi Anon

The window period is the period between the time you get infected and the time it can be detected in your body . Let me put it simply " You may have sex today with an HIv positive person and s/he infects you with the virus. If you can go for an HIv test today,tommorow or in few weeks time you may still test HIV negative. Reason being although you have been infected the test cannot yet detect the virus in your body. The virus is there but the test cannot yet pick it up .This period is usually about 3 to 4 weeks. So within that period the HIV tests ( eliza, prick test etc) will give you a negative result which is a false negative.

There are other tests which are more sensitive but more expensive to do. The PCR test for one. With this the window period is much less, you dont have to wait for 3 to 4 weeks for the accurate results. The window period for PCR is about 7 days . I hope this helps

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