How often after unprotected sex can I get an accurate HIV test if affected? What about at home testing?

March 4th, 2010 by admin

I was raped and wondering how long I have to wait to see if I have been infected. I have no insurance and the nurses in the ER didn’t offer me one. I am not sure how to get one done or how long I have to wait to get an accurate result. Is it something that I have to get done a few times over a period of time. What about other tests? What else should I get tested for and where should I go?

They normally test you right away and 3 months later. The antibodies for the test don’t show up until then. There is even a home test for HIV.


Go Get Tested Now

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4 Responses

  1. Louise T

    They normally test you right away and 3 months later. The antibodies for the test don’t show up until then. I don’t thinks there’s a home test.
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  2. quijibored

    Most community, city or county health departments offer free HIV testing. Also contact the local rape hot line for counseling help. You should get tested every 3 months for a year or so and then you’ll be in the clear.
    References :

  3. gotta move

    The standard of care for situations such as this is a test at the time of the incident to know your current HIV status and if negative, again about 90 days later. It takes about that long for the antibodies for HIV to be detectable by lab testing. Usually tests are done for other STD/STI as well. If you have a primary care physician, he/she can do routine testing or you can go to a local public health clinic.
    References :

  4. purple

    The "window period" is the time it takes for a person who has been infected with HIV to react to the virus by creating HIV antibodies. This is called seroconversion.

    During the window period, people infected with HIV have no antibodies in their blood that can be detected by an HIV test, even though the person may already have high levels of HIV in their blood, sexual fluids, or breast milk.

    Here is what the CDC says about the window period:

    "Antibodies generally appear within three months after infection with HIV, but may take up to six months in some persons."

    This CDC definition of a three to six month window period has been commonly used for a number of years.

    What does this mean for you?

    The three month window period is normal for most of the population. Many people will have detectable antibodies in three or four weeks. Very, very rarely (i.e., only a few cases ever), a person could take six months to produce antibodies.
    You may be anxious to be tested soon after an encounter which you perceive to be risky (for a discussion of what behaviors put you at risk for HIV and which ones do not, see the section on How HIV Is Spread). You want to know: can I be antibody tested without waiting three months? How accurate is the test after, say, six weeks?

    Unfortunately, we simply don’t know.

    Think about this: if you got a negative test at six weeks, would you believe it? Would it make you less anxious? If so, then go for it. But to be certain, you will need to be tested again at three months. Some test centers may recommend testing again at six months, just to be extra sure.

    Although HIV may not be detected by a test during the window period, HIV can be transmitted during that time. In fact, individuals are often most infectious during this time (shortly after they have been exposed to HIV).
    References :

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