[Question #4461] Hiv test window period

29 months ago
Dr Hook,

Just follwing up on my thread from 2 weeks ago. My question was when are HIV antibody tests conclusive and if a test taken at 84 days(12 weeks) would be considered conclusive.

You said they are conclusive at 90 days and there is no significant difference in the reliability of a test taken at  84 days and one at 90 days. On the CDC website it says it takes between 21-84 days to develop antibodies and many other sources quote 84 days (12 weeks) as conclusive. 

Given your expertise in the field your 90 days stuck with me and my OCD is acting up. Could you please confirm that 84 days is as good as 90 days, if not, why did you mention the 90 days instead of 12 weeks? Not trying to be annoying, just wanted to understand why the different number of days.

Thank you
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
I'll be taking this question, but I reviewed both our discussion 2-3 weeks ago and your more recent one with Dr. Hook. As you likely know, repetetive and anxiety driven quesions are discouraged; this will have to be your last one on the non-exposure event you described or your concerns about HIV testing. And your last reply included "Thanks dr. Hook, that's good enough for me" What happened?

Twelve weeks (or 13 weeks per some agencies), 90 days, etc are just rough estimates. The data on test performance are not precise enough to measure any difference in test reliability at approsimately 3 months. Trust me (and Dr. Hook):  You were not at risk for HIV and even if you were, your test result at 84 days is conclusive.

Your previous thread refers to your awareness of your OCD. You must understand that is the only health issue in evidence in your questions on the forum. It would seem time to make a new appointment with your OCD counselor or other provider -- or if you don't have one, seek such care now. I suggest it from compassion, not criticism.

HHH, MD 
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29 months ago
Dr Handsfield,

Thank you for your reply. The non-exposure event is long gone, the question on the testing period was this:

I started dating someone, she got tested at 84 days (after last contact with ex boyfriend) in a public clinic in Quebec, results were negative. Some labs in Quebec still use 3rd gen antibody testing so just wanted to make sure that 12 weeks is conclusive for hiv testing (antibody only) or it needs to be done at 90 days. 

Thanks again for your time!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Regardless of who was tested, your question about time to reliable HIV test results is the same and I answered it above:  "Twelve weeks (or 13 weeks per some agencies), 90 days, etc are just rough estimates. The data on test performance are not precise enough to measure any difference in test reliability at approximately 3 months." That makes it clear thatn your partner's 84 day result is just as reliable as at 90 days.---
29 months ago
Thanks Dr Handsfield, that is very reassuring and concludes this topic. Appreciate the patience and insights. Have a great day!
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
H. Hunter Handsfield, MD
29 months ago
Thanks for the thanks. I'm glad to have helped. ---