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What are the tests available to diagnose HIV after the window period?

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

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Published At March 18, 2023
Reviewed AtOctober 9, 2023

Patient's Query

Hello doctor,

I had unprotected oral sex with a guy, but he did not ejaculate. He penetrated me unprotected for about two minutes and then had put on a condom. After we were done, he removed the condom, cleaned himself, and penetrated again for about two minutes. I stopped him because he did not wear a condom. I am not sure if any semen or pre-semen had entered my vagina. I had diarrhea after three weeks as I am lactose intolerant. I had a sore throat and dry cough with a low temperature, and I immediately scheduled a visit with my doctor as I was nervous. I had a slight fever and asked my doctor to perform an STD (Sexually Transmitted Disease) test. When I got my results, I tested negative for syphilis, hepatitis B and C, HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus), and HSV (Herpes Simplex Virus) 1 but tested positive for HSV 2. My period for this month is noticeably lighter. About a week ago, my husband started having diarrhea with an upset stomach. I noticed a rash on his knee which looked more like a bruise than a rash and was red and purple. I also noticed that I had a small swollen parotid lymph node. I got nervous and decided to go back to the doctor so that she could test for HIV again. The results were still negative. My mouth is dry due to a lack of saliva. I am also taking Klonopin tablets to help with my anxiety. The other guy took Oraquick home test and tested negative. I am nervous because I have been feeling tired. Can this be due to the Klonopin tablet? Kindly suggest.

Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com.

I understand your concern. The test for HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a fourth-generation dual test, a combined antigen and antibody test. The window period is the time during which the body responds to viruses and starts producing antibodies for defense, but detectable levels appear between 45 days to 90 days. Before this period, the test will be falsely negative for antibodies. Antigens are particles of viruses, and they are detectable for seven days. So, a combined test after 45 days is 95 % specific for detection. So, I suggest you test after three weeks. Also, the symptoms such as sore throat, lymphadenopathy, and diarrhea are related to other conditions and not HIV. These symptoms appear in a severely immunocompromised stage of HIV. I hope this helps you.

Thank you.

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

Dr. Kiran Anaparthi
Dr. Kiran Anaparthi

HIV/AIDS specialist

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