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HIV testing window period

HIV testing period window

How soon can HIV be detected by a blood test?

HIV testing window period. Have you been engaged in unprotected sex? Or are you involved in injectable drug use? Whether sexual contact or using shared syringes, chances are high for you to acquire HIV. It is an infection that damages your immune system and paves the way for serious health complications.

HIV testing window periodKnowing your HIV status is essential if you are involved in the infection’s transmission mechanisms. Through testing, you will know your body’s status and condition and whether it is necessary to take antiviral drugs. BUT, how soon can HIV be detected by a blood test? How practical are these HIV tests?

Once the human immunodeficiency virus enters the body, it can take time for a test to detect it. This phase is called the HIV ‘window period’. It refers to the time after infection and before seroconversion. During this phase, the antibodies are still absent and undetectable, making it complicated and challenging to diagnose an HIV infection.

There are different types of HIV tests. These include:

  • Rapid Antigen/Antibody Test
  • Antibody Test
  • NAT (Nucleic Acid Test)

Knowing the window period of these tests can provide an accurate result necessary for a definite diagnosis.


Rapid HIV test

One of the widely-used HIV tests is the Rapid HIV test. It has two kinds: a rapid self-test and a rapid point-of-care test. These tests can provide results in a short period, typically within 20 minutes.

A rapid HIV test is most accurate when you take HIV testing window period from 18 to 90 days after exposure to the virus. This form of test looks for antibodies to HIV in an individual’s blood. The process follows the procedure of taking blood from a finger prick.

As mentioned, there are two kinds of rapid HIV tests. The Rapid Self-Test can be performed in the privacy of your home. It only takes 20 minutes to obtain the results, with an efficiency rate of 92%. Home test kits are available at pharmacies or online.

On the other hand, the Rapid Point-of-Care Test happens only in clinics performed by medical professionals. Counselling will also take place while waiting for the results, which you can receive after 20 minutes. It has a 95.5% efficiency rate.

HIV incubation period

How long does it take for HIV to show up? One of the reasons it is difficult to diagnose HIV is that not all people experience symptoms of the infection. However, once the virus has entered the body, the first stage occurs immediately within two to six weeks after the exposure.

The HIV incubation period refers to the time between the exposure and the appearance of symptoms. Typical flu-like symptoms such as fever, chills, colds, cough, and headache also vanish after two weeks.

Note that during the incubation period, viral transmission is high. Regardless of the absence of symptoms, you can still spread the virus to someone else, whether unprotected sex or using shared injections.


HIV drugs list

If you tested positive for HIV, obtain immediate medical treatment. It involves using antiretroviral drugs that inhibit the virus’s spread and prevent HIV’s growth throughout the body. Taking any of the following medications prevents the infection from advancing to AIDS.

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