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Author Topic: HIV Window period debate  (Read 15604 times)

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Offline ukguy82

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HIV Window period debate
« on: September 17, 2008, 03:32:44 PM »
Can anyone please give their opinion on the following:-  The standard window period for testing in the UK is 12 weeks where as you guys in the US often quote like 4-8 weeks, is this because your testing is more advanced do you know?  I went for a same day test today after 11 weeks and 4 days, should I have waited the extra 3 days? or does this not really matter, is a result likely to change in that time....your thoughts please.

Many thanks.

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV Testing in the UK
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2008, 03:41:42 PM »
UK,

For a start, what was your risk?

The tests we use here in the UK are the same sort as used in the States. The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seronconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. A six week negative should be confirmed at the three month point, but is unlikely to change.

I don't expect your test result to change.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

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"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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Re: HIV Testing in the UK
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2008, 03:51:47 PM »
Hi Ann are you based in the UK then?  Can I ask are you like a HIV councillor then?  My risk was one-off unprotected anal and vaginal sex with a caucasian woman in the UK I am also caucasian so you know the full situation.  Are you familiar why it is that here in the UK they are so strict with the 12 week window period where as in the US they say that 98-99% of HIV positive results will be found after 8 weeks?

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV Testing in the UK
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2008, 04:10:23 PM »
UK,

I live in the Isle of Man.

What "they" say in the States varies from place to place. However, the CDC goes by a three month window for a conclusive negative result and so do we here at AIDSmeds. However, that does not change the fact that the majority of people will test positive by six weeks. The three month window exists to confirm that result to make sure.

Hiv is a fragile, difficult to transmit virus and more so from a woman to a man. The odds were in your favour of testing negative from a one-time encounter, but don't push your luck. Just because you got away with it once doesn't mean you will again.

You need to be using condoms for anal or vaginal intercourse, every time, no exceptions until such time as you are in a securely monogamous relationship where you have both tested for ALL sexually transmitted infections together. To agree to have unprotected intercourse is to consent to the possibility of being infected with an STI. Sex with a condom lasts only a matter of minutes, but hiv is forever.

Have a look through all three condom and lube links in my signature line so you can use condoms with confidence.

Anyone who is sexually active should be having a full sexual health care check-up, including but not limited to hiv testing, at least once a year and more often if unprotected intercourse occurs.

If you aren't already having regular, routine check-ups, now is the time to start. As long as you make sure condoms are being used for intercourse, you can fully expect your routine hiv tests to return with negative results. Don't forget to always get checked for all the other sexually transmitted infections as well, because they are MUCH easier to transmit than hiv.

Whether or not you test again over this is up to you - but you really don't need to. Three days are not going to make a bit of difference. You ARE hiv negative.

Make sure you use condoms, for anal or vaginal intercourse, correctly and consistently from now on and you will continue to avoid hiv infection. It really is that simple.

Please learn your lesson from this experience.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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Re: HIV Testing in the UK
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2008, 04:18:05 PM »
Many thanks for your advice Ann, believe me it was a one-off mistake made that has caused me much worry and anxiety ever since, not one i will ever repeat!! One final question for you? would you suggest I should have confidence in an 11 week 4 days negative result (81 days, received today in a same day test) or would you suggest testing again in the next week or so, to be sure?  I also want to thank you for the work which you and the rest of the team do on this forum for others, it is brilliant, you help a lot of people that's for sure!

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV Testing in the UK
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 05:42:32 PM »
UK,

I've already answered your question: Whether or not you test again over this is up to you - but you really don't need to. Three days are not going to make a bit of difference. You ARE hiv negative.

It's up to you whether or not you feel you can trust your test. It's only three days short, don't sweat it - your results are not going to change.

Ann
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 05:44:21 PM by Ann »
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #6 on: September 20, 2008, 11:46:33 AM »
The UK testing guideline is 12 weeks I had a negative result at 11 weeks 4 days (81 days)  is this 12 weeks critical because that is when antibodies develop?  Say if i was to take a test at 12 weeks 2 days (86 days)  is there much likelihood that the result could change at all?  Basically it is wise to trust the 81 day result as opposed to waiting 12 weeks?  Please give your thoughts.

Many thanks.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #7 on: September 20, 2008, 12:07:07 PM »
The average time to seroconversion is 22 days. All but the very smallest number of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within 4-6 weeks after an exposure to the HIV virus. So no, it would be extremely unlikely that your negative results would change after 11weeks+.

Re-testing is strictly up to you. I would see your doing it just to remove any lingering doubts. Why have them clouding your thoughts in the future is how I see it. And I definitely would expect you to continue to test negative.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2008, 12:09:17 PM by Andy Velez »
Andy Velez

Offline Ann

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2008, 12:08:01 PM »
UK,

I've merged your new thread into your original thread - where you should post all your additional thoughts or questions. It helps us to help you when you keep all your additional thoughts or questions in one thread.

If you need help finding your thread when you come here, click on the "Show own posts" link under your name in the left-hand column of any forum page.

Please also read through the Welcome Thread so you can familiarize yourself with our Forum Posting Guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.

The vast majority of people who have actually been infected will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks, with the average time to seroconversion being only 22 days. A six week negative must be confirmed at the three month point.

As I've already told you, it is highly unlikely that your test results will change in the couple days left in your window period. You're more likely to find a multi-million pound winning lottery ticket lying on your doorstep than you are to turn positive after the results you've already had.

Whether or not you test again is up to you and more for your own peace of mind than any real need.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2008, 11:36:10 AM »
One further question, Ann or Andy..... I was told at the GU clinic that the window period for testing is 12 weeks and on here it is often said as being 13 weeks.  Is there actually much difference between these two times?  What kind of percentage of true results will be reported at say 11/12/13 weeks, is there much if any difference between these time frames?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2008, 11:39:26 AM »
There's no difference. In many countries 12 weeks is the standard. The CDC says 13. Either one will give you a reliable result.
Andy Velez

Offline ukguy82

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2008, 01:32:51 PM »
So I guess I can take a lot of confidence in my 11 weeks 4 day negative result being that it is so close to 12 weeks?  If I was to trust this and take no further tests, would this be reasonable do you think?

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #12 on: September 21, 2008, 04:03:35 PM »
Given your negatives thus far and bearing in mind the specifics of your one-time risk, I don't see any further need for testing.

You just need to avoid this problem in the future by always, without exceptions, using latex condoms for vaginal and anal intercourse. Period.
Andy Velez

Offline ukguy82

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 05:56:25 PM »
Ok guys well just for an update, I have been through a lot of anxiety and worry with all of this so just to put my mind at rest I went for a further test on Monday which was 12 weeks and 2 days after the said incident, the result today was negative.  Is this now 100% conclusive in your opinions? Is it now time to move on and put this all behind me do you think?  Many thanks for the work done here in particular to Ann and Andy who have been a great help to me and I know to a lot of others on here to.

Offline Ann

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Re: UK Testing Guidelines
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2008, 06:14:22 PM »
UK,

Well, I did tell you the result wasn't going to change. And yes, you're conclusively hiv negative.

Please re-read post #3 in this thread. Make sure use condoms and you'll remain hiv negative.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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HIV Window period debate
« Reply #15 on: October 23, 2008, 05:07:23 AM »
I have been told by UK health professionals that the window period for testing is 12/13 weeks (3 months) I have two questions:-

1.  Does this window period begin the second you finish having potential risky sex?  Or can infection be delayed or does HIV enter the bloodstream straight away?  For example if someone had unprotected risky sex today would they literally be able to count 12/13 weeks from today to get a conclusive test done?

2. Also why is there still conflict over the window period? The numerous websites there are still quote 6 months as the absolute conclusive window period.  Would like to know once and for all why this is? Is there in truth still doubt about which is correct?  As I say most places do say 3 months now but why the variance?

Many thanks.

Offline Ann

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #16 on: October 23, 2008, 06:31:57 AM »
UK,

Once again, I've merged your new thread into your original thread - where you should post all your additional thoughts or questions. Get with the program already!

If you need help finding your thread when you come here, click on the "Show own posts" link under your name in the left-hand column of any forum page.

Please also read through the Welcome Thread so you can familiarize yourself with our Forum Posting Guidelines. Thank you for your cooperation.

The window period starts after the act. And yes, if you had unprotected intercourse today you'd count from today. But you're not going to do that, are you. You're going to use condoms like you're supposed to. I bloody well hope so anyway!

I haven't a clue why some websites continue to publish old, outdated and incorrect information. If I had a crystal ball I'd consult it for you, but unfortunately I don't have one.

Not only has testing technology advanced, but years of experience have shown us that the vast majority of people will seroconvert and test positive by six weeks. The official window period for hiv testing has been three months for years now.

If what you read on other websites bothers you so much, may I suggest you contact the site administrators and give them a telling off? You'd be doing a public service.

And by the way, just in case you're looking for reassurance, you ARE conclusively hiv negative. Make sure you use condoms in future and you'll stay that way. OK? Good.

And please stop starting new threads!

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #17 on: October 23, 2008, 07:25:14 AM »
Many thanks Ann, my apologies for starting a new thread I had forgotton that bit.  So is there ever a case where the window period has been delayed then? for example infection doesn't occur straight away and HIV is delayed in getting into the blood stream?

The example I gave about someone having unprotected sex today was literally just that - an example.  Since my one off incident at the end of June, I have not had sex and as and when I do I shall make sure I wear a condom, which as you quite rightly say is so very important to promote.

Thanks.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #18 on: October 23, 2008, 08:02:08 AM »
There are only a very few exceptions when the window period is extended beyond 12-13 weeks. Those are circumstances where prolonged IV drug use has been involved, an organ transplant is involved or there is a severely collapsed immune system such as may occur during treatment for cancer. And believe me, if you had a severely imparied immune system, you would know it because everything is giving way at that point. So don't start thinking a sore throat or aches and pains are to be misinterpreted as that situation.

In your situation we're talking fears and feelings and not facts based in HIV science. You are HIV negative. Period.   
Andy Velez

Offline ukguy82

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #19 on: October 23, 2008, 09:29:37 AM »
Thanks for your reply Andy but that wasn't my question, what I was asking is does the window period always START straight away after unprotected sex? as in can the infection be delayed in getting into the bloodstream to start with?

Also with response to my earlier point about 12/13 weeks being a definate accurate window period for testing.  I have just noticed that this site within the welcome thread about testing suggests some people should wait out until 6 months for a test I refer to the paragraph....

"Getting tested before three months may result in an unclear result or a false negative. Some testing centers may recommend testing again at six months. All but less than 1% of those who are going to seroconvert will do so within three months (seroconversion is the development of detectable antibodies to HIV in the blood as a result of infection.) It's extremely rare for seroconversion to take more than six months to develop detectable antibodies".

As you will see the six month window period is mentioned on a few occasions there, any suggestions as to why? Is this only for certain groups of people?

I know all of this may seem over the top to you guys but when you are anxious about something and read conflicting information on the same website, some people like me struggle to know what is actually the true situation.  I hope you can take time to help ease mine and other peoples worries with this.

Thanks.




Offline Ann

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #20 on: October 23, 2008, 09:35:35 AM »
UK,

Both of these questions have already been answered. I told you that yes, the window period begins immediately after the risky act. Andy told you who needs to worry about an extended window period.

You are hiv negative, conclusively so. If you've read the Welcome Thread like you've been repeatedly asked to, you will have read the following posting guideline:

Quote
Anyone who continues to post excessively, questioning a conclusive negative result or no-risk situation, will be subject to a four week Time Out (a temporary ban from the Forums). If you continue to post excessively after one Time Out, you may be given a second Time Out which will last eight weeks. There is no third Time Out - it is a permanent ban. The purpose of a Time Out is to encourage you to seek the face-to-face help we cannot provide on this forum.

Please consider yourself warned. It's time you got on with your life.

Ann
Condoms are a girl's best friend

Condom and Lube Info  



"...health will finally be seen not as a blessing to be wished for, but as a human right to be fought for." Kofi Annan

Nymphomaniac: a woman as obsessed with sex as an average man. Mignon McLaughlin

HIV is certainly character-building. It's made me see all of the shallow things we cling to, like ego and vanity. Of course, I'd rather have a few more T-cells and a little less character. Randy Shilts

Offline ukguy82

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2008, 11:52:20 AM »
The last thing I wanted to do was annoy anyone so I am very sorry for that.  If you can just clear up one more confirmatory question then.  The only people who need to wait longer than 3 months for a conclusive test result are people with severely supressed immune systems and or people who are IV drug users, is this correct?  This will be my last question I promise.

Offline Andy Velez

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Re: HIV Window period debate
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2008, 03:24:39 PM »
Yes, that's right.
Andy Velez

 


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