Q. How reliable is rapid HIV test?

Answered by
Dr. Rakesh Kumar Bahunuthula
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Jun 01, 2017 and last reviewed on: Oct 07, 2021

Hello doctor,

How reliable is HIV rapid blood test after six months of my last exposure?



Welcome to

  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) infection has a window period of 1 to 3 months after the last exposure, during which the test results can be a false negative.
  • According to WHO (World Health Organization), all results are considered conclusive at 12 weeks after the last exposure. As your test result is negative at six months, it can be considered definitive.
  • You can be assured that you have not acquired HIV. There is no need for any further testing. Kindly upload the latest report to confirm the same.

Revert with more information to an HIV AIDS specialist online -->

Hello doctor,

Thank you for your answer. I have had a total of four negative rapid tests, two done at the HIV clinic and two at home. All four tests show a red line on C, and all the tests have been after six months of my last sexual encounter. Can I have four false negatives? Are these rapid HIV tests accurate? I have read they look for antibodies and for the germs. Can you elaborate about this, please? Thanks.



Welcome back to

  • There is a chance for false negative test results only in the first 12 weeks. Once you have crossed the window period, the test results tend to be confirmative.
  • It is not possible to have a false negative beyond 12 weeks. The third generation or the rapid tests which you have done are screening tests. They are accurate in view of their high sensitivity. They detect the antibodies produced by the body against HIV in the case a person is infected by the virus. It takes 12 weeks for the antibodies to reach sufficient levels for detection.
  • As your test result is negative on four occasions, and even beyond the window period, you can stay assured. You can rest your fears and go ahead with confidence. You can be sure that you have not been transmitted HIV.
  • Always use a condom, choose to stay in a monogamous relationship, restrain from homosexuality.

For more information consult an HIV AIDS specialist online -->

Hi doctor,

Thank you for your information. It is my first experience with this type of test, and I guess that is why I am asking so many questions. I see they use this test all over the world now, and they are being used in hospitals and health facilities also. So, I think they cannot be having the test for people and telling them they are HIV negative or worse positive, so I guess I have to trust science and my results.



Welcome back to

  • These tests are proven and reliable. You could have faith in them. Wish you good health.

For further queries consult an HIV AIDS specialist online -->

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