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HomeAnswersHIV/AIDS specialisthivPlease explain how long HIV antibodies remain in the body post exposure.

How long do HIV antibodies remain in the body post exposure?

The following is an actual conversation between an iCliniq user and a doctor that has been reviewed and published as a Premium Q&A.

Medically reviewed by

iCliniq medical review team

Published At November 18, 2017
Reviewed AtMay 9, 2024

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I have a general query. I would like to know say a person has HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus) and if he does not know about it. He then acquires AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome). So, even after having AIDS, will there be HIV antibodies in his blood? If he goes for an HIV antibody test after acquiring AIDS, will the antibody test result will be positive? Or will there be antibodies at later stages? My second question is does any medical condition or disease or medication in the past or present have any effect on the HIV test and HIV window period? If a person's test is negative after, say, three months from the antibody test then can he consider the report conclusive and not worry about the interference from any disease or medications? Kindly provide a descriptive answer and explanation.

Answered by Dr. Sushil Kakkar

Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com.

Antibodies against HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) once formed, stay forever. AIDS (acquired immune deficiency syndrome) is an advanced stage of HIV infection when the patient shows signs of immunodeficiency like opportunistic infections, malignancies, etc. Antibodies against the virus would be detectable in patients with AIDS. In an otherwise healthy individual, a negative HIV antibody test after three months of risk exposure is conclusive. Only drugs like oral steroids and immunosuppressives in organ transplant patients can interfere with the antibody response to HIV and not other drugs. Similarly, an immunosuppressed patient can have a delayed antibody response. The antibody response to HIV in an otherwise healthy individual is detectable after 12 weeks of infection and persists throughout the life of all those infected with HIV.


Patient's Query

Thank you, doctor,

My query is let us say if a person is an immunosuppressed patient or is on oral steroids then post-exposure after how many days he should get tested for HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) to be conclusive? A person unaware of the exposure, let us say he goes for an HIV antibody test after ten years. Then will there be enough antibodies in his blood for the HIV test to detect them?

Answered by Dr. Sushil Kakkar


Welcome back to icliniq.com.

In an immunocompromised individual, a screening test at six months mark is considered more reliable as compared to three months in an otherwise healthy individual. Once infected, the antibodies form against HIV, which remain detectable throughout life.


Same symptoms don't mean you have the same problem. Consult a doctor now!

Dr. Sushil Kakkar
Dr. Sushil Kakkar


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