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Avatar universal

Testing time frame and reliability.

Hello. I have some doubts when it comes to testing since most of the advice I've read online comes from US or canadian websites.

I tested negative 7 weeks post exposure and they say my results are highly unlikely to change by this point.
I'm planning on getting my confirmatory test in exactly 2 weeks (80 days).

Now, here's what I want to ask.

I live in Mexico, official window period is 3 months.
So, question #1, will it make a difference if I test at day 80 instead of day 90??? I've read window period to be 80 days, 12 weeks and 13 weeks. What's the real window period and when will my test actually be conclusive?  

Question #2: are tests equally reliable worldwide?? I have taken mine at a very respectable lab here in my city, they use ELISA (third generation I pressume).

Question #3: What worries me is I've been having loose stools/ diarrhea for like a month now (started round 5 weeks after my possible exposure, I tested at week 7, since it came out neg. I assumed my symptoms have nothing to do with hiv, since I read all tests come back positive 4 to 10 days after ars symptoms start, when I tested it was probably 12-14 days after symptoms started. HOWEVER this testing accuracy or sensitivity worries me as I can't help but think "what if the tests they use here in Mexico aren't quite as reliable or sensitive as they are in the US?"

Question #4: Will the window period and/or test sensitivity vary IF by any chance they're using second generation tests instead of third generation ones?

I don't know if 4th gen tests are offically available in my country yet, I think not.

The tests I'm taking are ELISA lab blood tests for HIV1/HIV2, they give me the results on the same day I take the test if I do so in the morning.

Thank you for your help.
21 Responses
Avatar universal
Three months is the guidelines 12 / 13 weeks. If you count the weeks in a month x 3 you get 12 weeks. Now if you count the number of days in a year, divide it by 12 for the number of months then multiple by 3 months you come up with the 13 weeks the US uses.
Avatar universal
The question is, what was your possible exposure?
Avatar universal
a brief (20-30 seconds) unprotected vaginal sex.
Avatar universal
Does it make a difference if I test at 12 weeks rather than 13?
aka, can a negative test at 12 weeks turn positive at 13 weeks?

And please, do you think tests used here are equally reliable as the ones used in the united states?? as i said, we've had the 3 month window period for years, the lab I have taken the tests at has a really good reputation in my state and won a prize in 2012 for excellence in their service and procedures. It frightens me that you might be avoiding this question. Is it possible tests vary in accuracy depending on each country?? Does this mean that probably the 3 month official guidelines are not quite reliable??
Avatar universal
No they are the same guidelines 3 months.
Avatar universal
Ok, so, now i'm completely convinced i'm going to test positive for hiv.
I went to the drug store and took a free consultation with the pharmacy doctor about my stomach issues.

(symptoms are rumblig stomach, lower abdominal pain, soft stools and get liquid diarrhea wenever I drink alcohol or eat spicy food or junk food. This has been going on for a month and a week.)

So,after he put his stethoscope on my stomach he immediately said I had ameba and gave me some pills. After my three day treatment symptoms didn't go away. This makes me think symptims might be due to a compromised immune system because of hiv.

Also I told him I tested 7 weeks after my exposure and that if it was ok to test at 80 days instead of 84 or 90, he said, and I quote "80, 90, doesn't matter, I would recommend you test at 6 months for your test to be conclusive." this freaked me out since official guidelines in my country is 3 MONTHS after possible exposure!

As you can read, Teak also told me 3 months is conclusive, wether it be 84 or 90 days.

Is it possible it can take LONGER than that for antibodies to develop??

I'm really worried becauseofmy symptoms that won't go away. Also I've been feeling really tiered lately, don't know if it's because I've had SO much to do and high stress and anxiety or if it is because of hiv
(I read fatogue can be a sign of infection...)

Will my test be conclusive at 3 months or do i have to wait for 6 or even 12 months for me to finally get a definitive result???
Avatar universal
3 months, really. And 6 months was with older tests, not with modern tests. Your dr is wrong.
Avatar universal
What about my symptoms??
and do you think it makes a difference if I test at 81 days rather than 84??
I want to test on friday instead of monday. I have a really hard time on weekends dealing with this curse. I feel my life as I know  it will be over in 5 days....
Avatar universal
Maybe it's me, but I keep doing it cause I can't seem to find a clear answer... I've read many oppinion on this, you say I need to test at 90 days, read Lizzie Lou from this website and a moderator from another forum state to other posters that 80 days is enough. I guess I won't ask any further questions and if I can't trust my results I'l have to keep testing and testing until I do. Plus, no one has adressed my symptoms!!! Deep down it makes me think you guys trully believe I'm infected and just don't want to tell me.
Avatar universal
Seek professional mental help. Where you pulled we believe you are infected and not telling you is totally irrational.
480448 tn?1426948538
Your symptoms are not at all consistent with HIV, not even close.  Not to mention, symptoms are never considered when assessing a person for HIV, because they're unreliable and highly variable.

Also, I would find yourself a new doctor.  For a doctor to LISTEN to your stomach, do NO other testing and prescribe medication for a parasite?  Yikes!  Plus, his info about HIV testing is incorrect, 6 months is the old guideline.

Your exposure is highly highly unlikely to lead to HIV infection.  If you had become infected, you would have most definitely tested + at 7 weeks.  Test at 3 months, and be done with it.  Next time, use a condom and don't put yourself at risk.
Avatar universal
Thank YOU! That made me feel much better. Specially after I read on your profile you are a real nurse. I started sweating like a pig after Teak stopped answering, it made me feel so abandoned.

Also I have a confession to make. To everyone who's read my thread.... i did use a condom for the brief penetrative sex. I just didn't use it for oral. (you can't put a condom on a girl and I've never seen dental dams in my life, also I only had one condom with me at the time which we used for the vaginal sex first.) I just didn't want to be dismissed with a "you had no risk and don't need testing answer" like so many posters before me (I started reading the threads of people with a risk similar to mine, and they were always neglected just because their only risk was oral)... Yes, I know the risk is ony 1 in 10 or 20 thousand, but there's still a small risk! I'm afraid I might die of fatigue or a hart attack. Haven't been able to sleep in weeks and my heart rate is goin crazy, rapid and like it's about to burst out of my chest at any given time. I can ever feel and hear it when I'm in a fairly quiet place.

I'm sorry again everyone, but as you can see I'm desperate.... I hope you can all forgive me. Specially Teak for being SO pushy. (Sorry Teak!)
I hope I indeed test negative on friday. I'll be back to post my results and I'll try my best to keep myself to keep posting on this forum.

Thank you nursegirl6572 for adressing my symptoms question. I'll try not to think about it. It's just hard for me since every time I go to the bathroom or my stomach rumbles it reminds me I might be infected with hiv.

The worst part is not even prayer can spare me this time. What's done is done. I'm past the point of no return. I feel I'm at the gates of hell.
Avatar universal
Teak  Feb 26, 2014
Three months is the guidelines 12 / 13 weeks. If you count the weeks in a month x 3 you get 12 weeks. Now if you count the number of days in a year, divide it by 12 for the number of months then multiple by 3 months you come up with the 13 weeks the US uses.
Avatar universal
Guys, i'm sorry I'm back. What do you think are the odds i test positive by now? I'm testing in 3 days at 81 days and I just can't sleep!!!!
I overheard a person at the bank saying it was "all going to be positive from now on" am I going crazy?? I think this was a sign. I was so shocked I had to leave immediately.
It got me thinking and I have new questions to ask...

1. Is it possible that since vaginal fluids have less concentration of HIV it takes a longer time to reproduce in the body and hence delay the seroconversion process??

2. I remembered I had a cut in the inside of my lower lip, also she was really really wet... can this increase my chances of getting the infection?

3. What if she was HIV+ (positive) and not taking any meds, would that increse those chances of infection even more?

sorry for bothering you again....
Avatar universal
You were advised as when to test.
Avatar universal
I'm testing friday and then 10 days later. i'm not eeking new advice on testing time frame, I asked three more (different) questions.

I'm posting them again in ase you missed them:

1. Is it possible that since vaginal fluids have less concentration of HIV it takes a longer time to reproduce in the body and hence delay the seroconversion process??

2. I remembered I had a cut in the inside of my lower lip, also she was really really wet... can this increase my chances of getting the infection?

3. What if she was HIV+ (positive) and not taking any meds, would that increse those chances of infection even more?
Avatar universal
1. No.
2. No.
3. No.
Avatar universal
Hi, i tested today at 12 weeks (84 days) since my last sexual encounter. Whatre the chances I will seroconvert at 90 days??? Is it possible someone can seroconvert after 90 days? (aka, should I test again at 6 months??)
Please help!!
Avatar universal
None, you have a conclusive test result.
Avatar universal
Thanks Teak,
and sorry, but would you assure me if i don't test anymore and in a couple of years decide to get married and have kids and my wife and I ger tested... would i be negative???
(this saying I don't have any kind of sex in the meantime)
Avatar universal
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