What is HIV Window Period?
Many people have heard about the HIV window period but because HIV is a subject which people often lack the interest to know and talk about, less attention is given to what an HIV window period is all about. Not to worry, this article would provide specific information one ought to know about HIV Window Period.
It has been described over time as that particular period of time after which an infected person would test negative for an HIV test even with the presence of the virus in the body. In some circumstances, it could take up to the period of between 10 and 90 days as the case may be, depending on the body metabolism and the mode of the test carried out. During this period, one would test negative even though the fellow is positive. It is important to bear in mind that the result of the test does not shield another uninfected person from contracting the disease. Studies have shown that HIV is transferred more in the window period than the subsequent stages of the infection.
What can put a person in the HIV Window Period?
A long list of activities can be responsible for this circumstance as a person is put at this risk if:
- He or she has anal or vaginal sex without the use of a condom with an infected person within a short period of time.
- A needle, syringe, or other sharp objects have been shared with an infected person.
- A blood transfusion has been carried out without due diligence and the blood happens to be infected.
- An uninfected person has, by any chance, had contacts with the fluids of an infected person when he or she has a cut on the body also.
The symptoms of HIV Window Period
One cannot be conclusive about the status of HIV by mere symptoms but a person may experience certain symptoms when he or she has been infected. This symptom which may be experienced by some includes:
- Feverish feelings
- Swollen lymph nodes
- Development of rash in certain parts of the body
- A sore throat
These symptoms often times lead the patients to carry out an HIV test but they end up testing negative even though they are positive. For this reason, many other persons are put at risk because of the belief that the patient is totally HIV free.
The types of specific window period HIV tests
A lot of test methods exist and some have been developed in recent times to help combat this difficulty of knowing one’s status during the window period. They include:
The rapid antibody test
This mode of test provides a positive HIV result based on the antibodies and not the virus in the body. One can achieve a successful result within 4 to 6 weeks after he or she has been exposed to the infection.
The rapid antigen combination test
This method also helps to detect antibodies to HIV alongside the virus fragments which are referred to as p24 antigens. They can, therefore, be detected earlier than the antibodies. The p24 antigen can be detected within 12 to 26 days after the injection has been administered.
The RNA tests
Concentration on the presence of the virus is done here and it is on this premise that the test is done. It is more expensive than doing an antibody test and rarely done. HIV can be detected after 10 to 14 days with this method as there would be sufficient viral material for the result to be accurately detected.
Polymerase Chain Reaction Test (PCR)
This type of test is used on babies who were born to HIV positive mothers. It provides the accurate result in about 2 to 3 weeks after the injection is given as there would have been enough viral material for a positive status to be specifically detected.
The advantages of early detection of HIV in the window period
Numerous advantages exist in the early detection of HIV for the infected patient and the public at large. Two of those advantages include:
Reduction or prevention of further transmission. Studies, over time, have shown that about half of those who are newly infected with HIV, get it from newly infected individuals. This is because a newly infected person who is unaware of his or her status would care less about it even though they carry a significantly higher level of virus in their blood when compared to others in advanced stages under medication.
Since they are unaware of their status, no care is given as to protect those around them which make them share needles and have unprotected sexual intercourse with their partners. Early diagnosis, especially in the window period, therefore, prevents the transmission to the barest minimum and gives room for easy health management.
It guides those who turn out positive. Once an accurate result is gotten, it guides the patient on the steps to take if it is positive, so as to live a healthy and normal life. It provides a better sense of how to handle the circumstance and feel very relevant in the society. The guide it provides further helps them sustain on anti-HIV treatment which boosts the immune system and extend their life for a very reasonable period of time.
A person who detects HIV early enough is bound to manage it more properly than others who don’t may ever do. So, therefore, it doesn’t matter if you are in the window period or not, get up and do a test today.